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Buffaloes defender’s SA move stalled

By Ray Bande

MUTARE – Young Warriors and Mutare Premiership outfit Buffaloes centre back Liberty Chakoroma has made it no secret that he is unhappy following his club’s reluctance to release him to try his luck at South African Premiership side Bloemfontein Celtic. 

Zimbabwe Under-23 defender Liberty Chakoroma
Zimbabwe Under-23 defender Liberty Chakoroma

With all the groundwork for a dream move to Bloemfontein Celtic already in place for the national Under-23 defender, the army side could not let go the player for a trial stint at the ABSA Premiership side.

The gritty Buffaloes centre back has wowed the hearts and minds of many in the game with his ability to win and keep possession, traits that earned him a regular place in the national Under-20 and latter Under-23 teams.

His handler, James Lunga Meya, confirmed that he had done all the necessary arrangements, including making travelling arrangements that would have seen the youngster flying to South Africa this week to undergo trials at Siwelele.

“I am his sponsor, having signed a three-year contract with the player. Apart from all other important aspects, even his apparel is catered for in the contract that I have with him. I had carried out all the necessary groundwork to take the young player to Bloemfontein Celtic, but I was only made to understand that Buffaloes were not ready to release him.

“It is sad that this was going to be a giant step in the development of the young player’s career, but somehow some people saw it fit to delay progress in Chakoroma’s career,” said Meya in a telephone interview from his South African base.

However, Chakoroma made known his melancholy in a no-holds-barred interview. He pledged his continued allegiance to the Mutare army side, but with a heavy heart.

“I think this was a chance for me to develop as a player. This was indeed a chance to get exposure and possibly learn more. I really wanted to have taken the chance to join Bloemfontein Celtic. I know and I understand that it was not going to be easy, but I believe I have what it takes.

“It hurts me to come to terms with the fact that my club felt I should not go. What is more painful is the fact that I was promised that I would be released as and when an attractive deal comes my way. It came, but the club leadership had other ideas.

“I have no choice but to remain where I am until my time to formally leave comes. It hurts, but I just have to come to terms with reality and continue working towards improving my game. I will be turning out for Buffaloes again this season and as usual, I will do so with all my heart despite the pain I am going through,” he said.

However, Buffaloes organising secretary Arnold Gatsi defended the club’s position, saying communication was not handled professionally.

“I think his South African sponsor did not use the proper channels of communication. They were only communicating with the player; it was never made official to the club and, therefore, our hands were tied,” Gatsi said. Manica Post