Milton Mashasha Sports Reporter in Byo,Zim
(News of The South) – An alarming OUTCRY by the Highlanders FC fans following the non-contract renewal of their Prodigal,long serving and loyal son Eric “Tsiba” Mudzingwa after the expiry of his contract on the 31st of December 2017 has led to the uproar against the decision by the club to release the player unceremoniously.
The arrival of the Highlanders legend Madinda Ndlovu as the newly appointed coach replacing the Dutchman Erol Akbay has seen a number of senior players being shown the exit paving way to the young energic lads hence promoting the junior policy as the tradition of the institution,Highlanders FC.
Highlanders has been known for grooming young players and introducing them into their main stream but that was not happening in years now.Well,this decision did not go down well among the multitude of the Highlanders followers who raised their voices in different social media platforms citing much concerns over the decision to offload the loyal senior players in such an unappreciative manner which seem to be ungrateful by the club and harsh to such players who gave their best to take the club to where it is today since joining the club as teenagers.
The fans also feel that although the coach Madinda decided to assemble his new look squad from the juniors although not yet a confirmed squad,he needed to blend them with experienced players in the mold of Eric and the gritty Simon Munawa.
The gangly former Highlanders Captain,utility player was recruited into the Black and White army into the under 15 age group in the year 2000.He graduated into the senior team and made his debut in 2007 under Mathembe “Mayor” Ndlovu.The hard tackling versatile player Eric never looked back since then and was one of the outstanding consistent performers.
It is sad and disheartening that he was shown the exit in such an unfashionable and in unceremoniously manner,of which most of the fans expected the Executive,Coach his technical staff to handle Eric’s release with dignity regardless of the player being no longer in their plans but the fact that the player gave it all and was loyal to the club for so long,resisting better offers from other clubs who needed his services.Moreover,Simon Munawa is the other player whom the fans thought he was supposed to be given another chance judging according to his consistence at the club in the 2017 season.Simon Munawa joined Highlanders fc in 2015 from Zimbabwe Saints,its very unfortunate that he was too,shown the exit after such years of consistence,loyalty and hard working.
Other senior players who were axed include Tendai Ngulube,Allen Gahadzikwa and the veteran striker Ralph “Banolila” Matema,whilst Rahman Kutsanzira moved to the Zvishavane based Champions FC Platinum with King Nadolo linked to the South African first division side Witbank Spurs.
It is yet to be seen whether Madinda and Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu stance to Axe the senior players will yield any favorable results considering the jostling for players by other PSL teams bolstering and bringing experienced players in their 2018 squads setup.Clubs like Dynamos fc have seen a number of players brought on board,the likes of Raphael Manuvire from ZPC Kariba,Jimmy Tigere from Harare City,Blessing Moyo unattached,James Marufu unattached and also they are eyeing to bring the Harare City duo Kuda Kumwala and William Manondo.
FC Platinum acquired a number of players with two foreigners coming in that is Shadreck Mayembe from Zambia and Albert Eonde from Cameroon,they also brought in Jameson Mukombwe from Black Rhinos,Kelvin Madzongwe from Bulawayo City,Never Tigere from ZPC Kariba,Lawrence Mhlanga from Chicken Inn,Rahman Kutsanzira from Highlanders,Farai Madhanhanga from Harare City and Collin Phiri from Hwange. FC lost Nqobizitha Masuku to the Zambian Premier outfit Buildcon and also failed to lure the Ngezi Platinum FC versatile player Liberty Chakoroma whom they had already registered in the Caf Champions squad together with Masuku only to revert back to his former club Ngezi.
The Green Machine Caps United have only one acquisition so far reuniting with their former player Oscar Machapa after he decided to terminate his contract with the Congelese outfit AS Vita,with close sources saying Simba Nhivi their former player might also join them after an unsuccessful stint in Tanzania.Caps lost their gunman and the 2017 golden boot winner Dominic Chungwa who has since joined the South Africa Absa side Polokwane City joining another country men George Chigova,their big goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda also joined the first division side Witbank Spurs.Whilst Moses Muchenje and Denvon Chafa are in North Africa trying their luck with the Egptian sides hoping to seal good deals after their successive show in the Caf Champions league where they eliminated the DRC giants TP Mazembe and subsequently reaching the mini league.
Clubs have shown their intentions to assemble formidable sides for the upcoming 2018 season.The Bulawayo giants seem reluctant and unmoved by such acquisitions.The former Bmobile Orapa United gaffer Madinda Ndlovu has decided to revert back to the Club policy of recruiting players from their juniors to the main stream rather than splashing their hard earned scarce funds to acquire big names,high profile players from other regions who at the end dump the club at the time of needy.
Now the sticking point is, Are the young lads going to withstand the heat at this level of the competition or it is going to be the Bantu Rovers way,who exhibited a number of young promising players in the 2017 season but to no avail,only to go down into the tunnel.Only time will tell whether Madinda ” Khathazile” Ndlovu will bring back those happy days to Highlanders,will he pull the shocker and defy all odds,match the big boys pound for pound.
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