BY HENRY MHARA
FC Platinum has confirmed the departure of midfielder Kelvin Madzongwe after the two parties failed to agree on a contract extension.
Madzongwe’s contract expired at the end of the year and has refused to renew.
He follows in the footsteps of several other key men at Mandava who have decided against extending their stay in Zvishavane.
Other players that have left the club are Rahman Kutsanzira, Silas Songani, Ralph Kawondera and Stanley Ngala.
FC Platinum spokesperson Chido Chizondo yesterday confirmed that Madzongwe would not be part of their cast when the Premier League resumes early next month.
“The players that did not renew their contracts are Silas Songani, Madzongwe, Rahman Kutsanzira and Ralph Kawondera,” Chizondo told NewsDay Sport yesterday.
She added that striker Stanley Ngala had been sold to Highlanders.
It’s not clear what triggered the player exodus at the well-resourced club, which not so long ago was the ideal destination for local players.
But it is believed that most of the players were unhappy with the amount of game time they were getting.
From the list above, only Kutsanzira and Madzongwe were regulars in the Norman Mapeza-coached side, and the duo’s departure has raised eyebrows.
Madzongwe, in particular, looked like one of the coach’s favourites at both club level and in the senior men’s national football team.
Mapeza is the interim national team coach and was in charge of the Warriors at the Africa Cup of Nations final tournament currently underway in Cameroon.
The team bowed out in the first round, with Madzongwe starting in the Warriors’ two opening two matches before he was sidelined in the third because of a suspension.
Mapeza and his Warriors band arrived back in the country last week, and is expected to return to Zvishavane today to start preparations ahead of the league’s resumption in the second week of February.
His immediate task would be to look for replacements to plug the gaps that have been opened by the departure of Madzongwe and other senior players.
Madzongwe is reportedly on his way to Bulawayo Chiefs. Songani has returned to Europe after signing for a club in Iceland, while 2019 Soccer Star of the Year first-runner up Kawondera has joined Dynamos.
Ngala and Kutsanzira were unveiled by Highlanders last week, and the Bulawayo giants could soon return for their other former player Denzel Khumalo, who is reportedly unsettled in Zvishavane.
Defender Donald Dzvinyai has been linked with a move away, with Harare City his possible destination.
Chizondo said Mapeza was expected to share his transfer window plans when he resumed club duties today.
He is unlikely to go the club’s traditional way of opening the cheque book though, and indications are that he will promote youngsters from the team’s junior ranks to the senior squad.
A few youngsters, including Thandolwenkosi Ngwenya, Oscar Bhebhe, Hagaizo Magaya, Kelvin Mangiza and Panashe Matimbanyoka, were recently promoted and are already regulars in the senior team.
- Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara