THIS is the news that most Dynamos fans would not want to hear. Christian Ntouba is set to leave the Harare football giants this month after renewed interest from South African clubs, with reports suggesting that big guns Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and SuperSport are all eyeing the highly-rated striker.
BY HENRY MHARA
The Cameroonian came close to sign for Bidvest Wits at the start of the month, but an ankle injury sustained during trials with the South African league champions scuttled the deal.
Ntouba, who was reportedly topping Wits coach Gavin Hunt’s wish list, was sent back to Harare for rehabilitation, and it appeared he would rejoin Dynamos and wait for the summer transfer window to try and make the move.
However, it has emerged that the powerful forward, who still has one year left on his contract, might still move away, with a source confiding to NewsDaySport that the three South African clubs have shown genuine interest.
The source said SuperSport looks the more determined and will send emissaries to Harare next week to engage Dynamos and the player’s representatives over a possible deal.
“Chances are very high that he will leave before the transfer window closes. SuperSport, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs have all shown interest, but it’s highly likely that he will join the former. They will have their officials in Harare next week to discuss the possibility of him joining their club. The parties want to keep the negotiations as secretive as possible,” the source said.
The source added that DeMbare have started to prepare for life after Ntouba and are in the process of identifying a replacement with a meeting between the technical team and executive scheduled for Monday.
Two Cameroonians have been identified to replace the striker while coach Lloyd Mutasa, who has already started strengthening his team by capturing Raphael Manuvire, Jimmy Tigere, Blessing Moyo and James Marufu, is pushing hard to add William Manondo as well.
“The coach wants William Manondo and he has not made it a secret. The club has already written to Harare City to inquire if they can get the player on a one-year contract. William played as an attacking midfielder at Harare City, but Mutasa wants to use him as a striker. Mutasa worked with the player at Kiglon where he played him as a striker, so he has complete faith in him. Remember he (Mutasa) is the one who gave Manondo and Denver Mukamba their Premier Soccer League debuts at Kiglon after signing them from DC Academy.”
“But there are two other strikers that might arrive from Cameroon. The other one has been recommended by Christian. All those things will be discussed at the meeting on Monday, but Mutasa wants the players to be signed as soon as possible so they can join the rest of the team in pre-season training.”
Dynamos, who finished the season second, two points behind champions FC Platinum, started their pre-season training on Monday.
When asked about the renewed interest in their most prized asset, Dynamos secretary-general Webster Marechera said: “Whoever told you that does not have the club at heart. Why do people want to jeopardise some things before they even start? Anyway, I’m not aware.”
Ntouba’s manager Gilbert Sengwe said: “I haven’t heard anything, unless they are meeting with Dynamos. As far as I am concerned, Christian has started training with Dynamos and will perhaps play there and try again in June when the transfer window opens again.”
Ntouba netted 12 goals in his debut season in the country to help Dynamos to a silver medal. His impressive performances saw him being voted as one of the Premiership’s 11 best players of the season, consequently attracting interest from South African clubs, with Ajax Cape Town and Polokwane City the first to inquire. Dynamos had put a $200 000 (R2,7 million) price tag on Ntouba’s head which Polokwane City had agreed to pay, but could not agree personal terms with Ntouba, and the deal failed to materialise.