NGEZI Platinum Stars have snapped up Ghanaian Steven Owusu Kaakyire to bolster the squad as they aim to challenge for the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title which they narrowly missed out on last season.
BY HENRY MHARA
The Mhondoro-Ngezi team were one of the contenders to win the title last year, and at one point looked odds on favourite before a sudden slump in form late in the season saw them eventually finishing third behind Dynamos and champions FC Platinum.
Ngezi Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya yesterday told NewsDay Weekender that his club had signed the West African, and was one of the seven new arrivals at the club who will be unveiled early next week.
Owusu, 23, is a striker who played in the Ghana topflight in 2016 with Berekum Chelsea where he scored three goals before spending last season in the league’s second-tier league where he finished as the top goal scorer with 18 goals.
The deal was facilitated by United Kingdom-based player agent Joe Mhondiwa.
“They sent us his videos and then we invited him for trials. He was here for two weeks for assessment and we are happy with what we saw. He is good aerially, something that we have been missing. He was playing for Berekum Chelsea in 2016 and went for trials in Oman. I am told the deal failed to materialise and by the time he returned to Ghana, the transfer window had closed, and that’s how he ended up playing in Division One,” Ndiraya said.
Owusu is currently in Ghana while his work permit is being processed and he is expected back in the country next week in time for the unveiling.
Ngezi had initially targeted 25-year-old Ghana international striker Gilbert Fiamenyo who had impressed during trials, but failed to pass medicals.
Besides Owusu, Ngezi Platinum have made six other new additions to the squad.
The big names on the list include Tichaona Chipunza who joined from Dynamos, goalkeepers Bernard Donovan and Tatenda Munditi from How Mine and Harare City respectively, Marlon Mushonga (Tsholotsho), Frank Mukarati (How Mine) and Kelvin Sande, who has been promoted from the club’s juniors.
“It’s a good squad, well-balanced. We want to do better than we did last year.”
Ndiraya’s bosses have publicly stated their desire to win the title this year, and are willing to back the coach who has been given a blank cheque.
The former Dynamos coach is, however, worried by a number of injuries in his squad with the season kicking off in seven days time.
The long list of injuries is headed by the club’s last year Players’ Player of the Season Qadr Amin, who is likely to miss the entire 2018 season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury he sustained during training. He is expected to travel to South Africa for a surgery.
Ex-Dynamos defender Elisha Muroiwa is being lined up as a possible replacement. He has been training with the club, and the technical team has been impressed and have already recommended his signature.
Other players on the treatment table who are set to miss the first games of the season are striker Terrence Dzukamanja, Xolisani Moyo, Michael Charamba, goalkeeper Nelson Chadya and Mukarati.
Owusu is also struggling with a hamstring injury and is a major doubt for the team’s league opener.