Sithole, Mukamba in SA for trials
By Petros Kausiyo
HARARE giants Dynamos and CAPS United might lose two of their best players with Denver Mukamba and Simba Sithole flying out of the country for a trial stint with South African Premiership side Maritzburg United.
Sithole and Mukamba – members of the na-tional Under-23 side that is one hurdle away from qualifying for the 2011 All-Africa Games – are only playing in their second season in the domestic top-flight having starred for Shooting Stars and Kiglon respectively last year. Both players have, however, had storming sta-rts to the Castle Lager Premiership campaign, turning on some blinding performances that have helped their teams mount early challenges for the title.
Sithole has struck five times in six matches for CAPS United to lead the Premiership goal-scoring charts. The 19-year-old former Pamu-shana High School student has also provided the goals that have helped the Young Warriors to within one round of the All-Africa Games finals in Mozambique having scored in the matches against Zambia and Botswana.
Sithole struck a brace in the first round, first leg against Zambia in Lusaka then scored three times against Botswana in the second round, including another double at Rufaro.
Sithole and Mukamba are also among a group of some of the finest young talent to emerge from Zimbabwe with their Under-23 side being touted as one of the best groups in terms of talent and potential. The duo’s departure for trials in South Africa comes barely a week after another Young Warrior and Dynamos midfielder Archieford Gutu left for trials in Bulgaria.
But unlike Gutu, who had signed for Ajax Cape Town before complications related to his age stalled the move, it is the first time that both Sithole and Mukamba have had a chance to try their luck in a football environment that is different from home.
The pair’s agent Gibson Mahachi, in confir-ming the trial stint at Maritzburg, said he was confident the duo would acquit themselves well.
Sithole and Mukamba now look set to miss CAPS United and Dynamos’ Premiership assignments over the weekend.
CAPS United will host in-form moneybags FC Platinum at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday while Dynamos will travel to Bulawayo for a clash against Zimbabwe Saints at Barbourfields the following day
Although the rights to Sithole are held by former CAPS United and Shooting Stars executive Ziyambi Ziyambi and Mukamba is a DC Academy player on loan to DeMbare, Mahachi is the pair’s agent. He has been tasked by both Ziyambi and DC Academy to market them and handle issues related to their transfers.
Mahachi said Maritzburg United, a modest Absa Premiership side that upstaged giants Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday to guarantee their survival in the league, had indicated to him that they wanted to assemble a “stronger but younger team” next season. Maritzburg United are currently 12th on the Absa Premiership standings with 32 points.
“The Team of Choice” as Maritzburg are affectionately known, are understood to have been tracking Sithole and Mukamba since last year when the pair featured for Zimbabwe at the Cosafa Under-20 tournament in Botswana as well as during their All-Africa Games qualifying assignments this year.
“Both players are already in South Africa and on their way to Pietermaritzburg, the trials should take between a week or just under a week,” said Mahachi.
“Maritzburg are looking for players and we have had close contact from the time they almost signed Cuthbert Malajila before he went to Tunisia.
“They also saw these players in the Cosafa Under-20 and during the Under-23 matches and the club have indicated that they want to build a strong and young squad for next season.
Last week they wrote requesting for the players and we have since communicated the move to both CAPS United and Dynamos. I actually spoke to Lloyd Mutasa (Dynamos coach) and Ziyambi discussed the issue with CAPS United.
“Chances are they will miss their teams’ league games because they should have started training on Tuesday but things changed when Maritzburg were given a day off from training after their win over Sundowns which means they will start training tomorrow (today),” Mahachi said.
Mahachi said although it was the first time that Sithole and Mukamba were having trials on foreign soil, he had spoken to the players about the need for them to “keep their cool and remain focused”. “I think even if they do not make it, it is important for them to go for trials and I have been telling them (Sithole and Mukamba) to relax, show what they have and to play their normal football.
“I told them that not everybody they will find at the club will be smiling at them or will like them and that they should expect anything because that is football and it is part of learning.
“That is why I feel that even if they do not make it they would have learnt a lot on how to handle trials and training and playing in a different environment from home,” Mahachi said.
The respected agent, who also handles Warriors midfielder Justice Majabvi and Malajila, noted that a number of local players were likely to be travelling to clubs outside the country for trials between this month and the end of June.
“Orlando Pirates have indicated that they are finalising on Martin Vengesayi and once they send him an air ticket he will go there for trials.
“Although I have not personally encountered problems with any club so far I believe it must be understood by our local teams that because of the difference in seasons between our calendar and some leagues, our players mostly go for trials either in January or between May and June.”
Mahachi revealed that they were working on finalising Majabvi’s future amid indications that the midfielder, who plies his trade with Austrian Bundesliga side LASK Linz, will become a free agent on June 30. Although the Austrian club had bid to extend Majabvi’s contract, they had twice failed to agree terms with the player’s camp with the Warriors international eyeing possible moves to Germany, Poland or Mamelodi Sundowns who have been trying to lure him to South Africa for a while.
“We are still finalising on his (Majabvi’s) future but he will become a free agent on 30 June while Cuthbert (Malajila) will be going back to Club Africain in a month’s time when his loan deal to Libya expires so we will see what happens thereafter”.