By Eddie Chikamhi
Warriors skipper Knowledge Musona’s fate at Belgian football giants Anderlecht is likely to be determined as early as next week as it is becoming apparently clear he is not in the club’s plans for this season despite holding on to a contract that runs three more years.
Musona, who had an unhappy stint with the 34-time Belgian champions in his debut season for the club before he was loaned out to rivals Sporting Lokeren last season, is still pondering his next move. Currently, he is enjoying his holiday in the country following the recent tour of duty with the Zimbabwe national team at the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.
The “Smiling Assassin” has been conspicuous by his absence as the Belgian giants entered the third week of their pre-season training under their new player-manager, former Manchester City captain and centre-back Vincent Kompany.
Reports from Belgium indicated that Kompany is battling to trim his bloated squad as they also welcome back 10 players from loan deals while they have also been involved in the transfer market.
However, Kompany and his technical team could have already made up their minds about their plans for the season.
The Belgian international has already taken steps to surround himself with familiar faces at Anderlecht, bringing in Manchester City’s former head of academy coaching Simon Davies as his assistant manager and appointing former City team-mate Craig Bellamy as Under-21s manager.
He has also brought in ex-Manchester City teammate Samir Nasri and 22-year-old Dutch midfielder Michel Vlap. They are also expected to announce the arrival of Manchester City defender Phillipe Sandler on a loan deal. Kompany’s return to Anderlecht was widely believed to help usher hope for Musona and other fringe players, but the former defender finds himself in a difficult position as he has to make some tough decisions on his oversized squad.
According to the Belgian media, the 33-year-old is expected to make some important announcements in the coming week.
“Vincent Kompany faces a difficult assignment, slimming down a selection of more than 30 players. That decision is not easy and can be concluded from the fact that it has been delayed. Adrien Trebel and Kara Mbodj already know where they stand, the rest still have to be patient.
“There is little chance that RSC Anderlecht will go to Portugal and the Netherlands with all players (on pre-season tours), so perhaps some conclusions can be drawn from that.
“Even that doesn’t give guarantees, because the internationals will be coming back next week. Only then will the board decide on who stays and who can leave.
“On Wednesday, the Purple & White are still practicing against OFI Crete, the last game to make the final decisions,” reported the Belgian media.
According to Het Nieuwsblad, French midfielder Trebel and Senegalese defender Mbodj are among the players that have been demoted to the B-team after failing to secure places in the senior team.
The group that Kompany has at his disposal has become somewhat larger with the return of internationals James Lawrence, Bubacarr Sanneh, Peter Zulj and Alexandru Chipciu while Francis Amuzu, Alexis Saelemaekers, Sebastiaan Bornauw, Yari Verschaeren, Elias Cobbaut, Luka Adzic and Musona still have a few days of holiday.
Striker Mohammed Dauda (21) will be sent back to Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem on loan. Musona, on the other hand, had been linked with a move back to South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs.
But the Warriors forward has been on record dismissing the links. He indicated on return from the AFCON tournament that he had not received offers yet. “Not at the moment. I am still on holiday and I will be going back (to Belgium) very soon and see what happens,” said Musona.
The Warriors skipper is missing on the 30-member squad on the club’s website where new signings
like Nasri and player-manager Kompany have also been allocated their jersey numbers for this season.
Musona, who signed a four year contract last season, has, however, hinted that he wants out of the club after enduring one of the most difficult periods in his playing career last season. He has maintained that he will remain in Europe despite links to his former South African club Kaizer Chiefs.
Musona joined Anderlecht last year after a decent career with local rivals Oostende. He netted 41 goals and made 18 assists for the side during his three-year stint.
However, his move to Anderlecht, where he complained of game time after featuring a few times, has brought his career at the crossroads.
Musona had to be loaned out to Lokeren to get more game-time last season. Sadly the club got relegated and his expected return to Anderlecht has been shrouded with uncertainty. The club could be forced to sell him if they find a good deal or may send him back on loan again.
As the Belgian Pro-League side’s pre-season training continues to take shape ahead of the new season, former Zimbabwe international Cephas Chimedza, who is based in Antwerp, Belgium, yesterday said Anderlecht are most likely to sell Musona.
“The club had one of their worst campaigns last season and one of the reasons was down to poor signings.
“With him (Musona) being loaned out and not really doing much out there and now the team with Kompany in charge signing new players, pre-season almost three weeks busy and Musona not being there makes his chances to play for Anderlecht next to nil,” said Chimedza. The Herald