ZIMBABWE international footballer Matthew Rusike has set his sights on a move to the Portuguese top-flight league, the Primeira Liga, while fellow international Tendai Ndoro has finally joined Orlando Pirates, according to reports from South Africa. The Portuguese club has not been named.
BY WELLINGTON TONI
And should the deal come through, Rusike will become the first Zimbabwean to play in the Primeira Liga.
The Kaizer Chiefs attacker’s contract at Naturena expires on June 30 after spending three years following a protracted move from Jomo Cosmos.
With coach Stuart Baxter having left for Turkey at the end of last season, it seems new mentor Steve Komphela does not have the Zimbabwean in his plans for the defence of the league title.
Rusike scored twice in six starts and his late appearance in the teams towards the end of the season was helped by the mid-season departure of fellow Zimbabwean Kingston Nkhatha to SuperSport United.
Revelations that Rusike is headed to Portugal were made yesterday morning when Chiefs unveiled their new signings: Siyanda Xulu, Bongani Ndulula, Camaldine Abraw, Daniel Cardoso and Keegan Ritchie while Lucky Baloyi, who was on loan at Moroka Swallows in 2014/15, is also back with the Soweto giants.
Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung told reporters during the media conference that Rusike was offered a new deal, but turned it down for a move to Portugal.
“Matthew told us on Sunday that he is leaving for Portugal. We offered him a new deal, but he wanted to leave. I don’t have the name of the team he’s joining. He was not sold. His contract was running until the end of June. So, he joins that team on a free transfer,” he said.
And Rusike seemed to confirm as much when he posted on his Twitter handle: “Thanks to my family at Kaizer Chiefs, everyone at the village. Continue to inspire greatness. Once a Khosi always a Khosi, Amakhosi4Life.”
After Chiefs had made the announcement on Rusike’s departure, fans paid tribute to the Zimbabwean international.
Tweeted Mpho Dimpe: “Thanks for everything Matty, the #Khosination is very grateful of your contribution to the club.”
Jim Makhuvele said: “Good luck Matthew thanks for your hard work and commitment to the team.”
Another fan, Yomelela, tweeted: “Have a great future Rusike, we thank you a lot about everything you done for us.”
Rusike’s departure from Chiefs will now leave Warriors captain Willard Katsande as the only Zimbabwean at Naturena after Ovidy Karuru was sent on loan.
Karuru had arrived from Belgium, but failed to nail a place in the side, although it is understood that Komphela has insisted that he wants to see all players before any could be released, which could give the former Masvingo United man a reprieve.
At Houghton, the Pirates headquarters, Ndoro was understood to be doing his medicals after sealing a switch from Mpumalanga Black Aces.
Aubrey Ngoma and Manti Moholo will be moving to Aces permanently in the swap deal.
South Africa publication Laduma reported yesterday: “I can tell you now that Ndoro is doing medicals at the club. He is a Pirates player and all is finalised now,” the source said.