LAWRENCE Mhlanga continues to languish on the sidelines, as he battles for clearance to enable him to resuscitate his football career, which has stagnated, owing to an ownership wrangle between Chicken Inn and FC Platinum.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA/TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The two clubs are laying claimants to the defender, a situation which has seen him failing to feature for FC Platinum, whom he joined at the start of the year.
For a full season, Mhlanga was languishing on the sidelines as battles raged between the clubs on different platforms.
Four matches into the new season, not much has improved with the battle having been taken to the courts as well as Zifa.
He only featured for FC Platinum in their doomed Caf Champions League match against Clube Desportivo de Agosto.
Zifa, through their spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, yesterday said the players’ status committee was seized with the matter.
“The committee was supposed to meet last week, but it failed and the meeting has been scheduled for today (yesterday). Once a determination is made, we will make it public,” he said.
Even if the players’ status committee makes its ruling, the wrangle is likely to drag on, as the matter is also before the courts, where it may take more weeks, if not months, to be concluded.
The Premier Soccer League declined to register Mhlanga with any club until his status had been determined by the Zifa’s players’ status committee.
This followed a Zifa directive that Mhlanga be allowed to join a club of his choice, since he had been sidelined for too log.
Before that, Chicken Inn had declined the player’s request to cancel his contract after he had initially declared himself a free agent, something that the former champions contested.
Chicken Inn secretary, Tavenga Hara refused to say much, saying the matter was still before the courts. He however, wondered who cleared Mhlanga to play in the Caf inter-club competition.
“I can’t say much because the matter is still before the courts, but he played in the Caf inter-club competitions and we don’t know who cleared him,” Hara said.
With the wrangle seemingly set to drag on, FC Platinum assistant coach, Lizwe Swewe opened up about the player’s plight yesterday.
“It won’t be good for him as a player if he spends more time or another season on the sidelines because of this wrangle,” Sweswe said.
“This is his only profession and besides the fact that the team needs him, Lawrence still needs football, so that he can support his family.
“He is still young and has a bright future, but these kind of issues can ruin his career. It is not good at all.
“The situation, which he finds himself in is demoralising and might have a (negative) psychological impact on him,” he said.
Sweswe urged the responsible authorities to finalise the matter to allow the player to relaunch his career. Mhlanga initially signed with FC Platinum after allegedly misrepresenting to the club that he was a free agent.
Chicken Inn then approached FC Platinum, who said Mhlanga must first resolve his contractual dispute with them before they could take him on board.
Mhlanga signed a two-year contract with Chicken Inn, which was due to end in December 31, but the club insists he extended his contract by a year.