By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
When Zimbabwe’s reigning Soccer Star of the Year, Rodwell Chinyengetere, returned home after just 228 days with Baroka FC in the Absa Premiership in South Africa, there was a lot of debate about what really happened to the FC Platinum man.
That Zimbabwe’s best player, not only in a single year, but twice on the trot, could only last that shocking distance at an arguably modest club like Baroka, raises more questions than answers in a nation that has always believed its league is more superior to the Absa Premiership.
Just a few days after Chinyengetere’s return two other players, Gerald Takwara and Mitchelle Katsvairo, returned home to join Ngezi Platinum Stars adding to the Highlanders’ duo of Prince Dube and Bukhosi Sibanda who returned home last year.
In recent past years, the country also saw Simba Sithole, Milton Ncube, Peter “Rio” Moyo, Tatenda Mukuruva, Denver Mukamba, Partson Jaure and Edmore Chirambadare all being offloaded by their foreign clubs after a short spell, raising the question; are our players hurriedly sent to foreign lands before they are fully mature?
Are the intermediaries (formerly agents), so cash-hungry that their only concern is a fat cheque when the receiving club pays its dues, instead of taking time to properly take their clients through some form of schooling of what will be expected of them in a foreign league.
However, some critics might argue why it is largely those players that move to South Africa who seem to be failing to stay longer.
Are South African coaches conniving with some intermediaries to fleece club owners by signing average or below average players only to offload them after a few months?
How else does one justify the offloading of our best player in the past two seasons by a team that itself faced relegation until the last few games of the season?
Former AmaZulu and Warriors’ hardman, who played in Poland, Herbert Dick, flatly blamed intermediaries for this embarrassing situation in Zimbabwean football.
“These agents are just after money, they get cuts from these deals which they make every time while players continue to be destitute.
“I know of some players who had contracts terminated without their knowledge simply because an intermediary would have been approached by a club to look for another player,” said Dick, who is now vice-president of the Footballers’ Union of Zimbabwe.
He said it was important for Zimbabwean players to know that they were the employers of these intermediaries, not the other way round.
“Greed has gotten the better of intermediaries, much to the misery of local players. It’s a well-knit cartel which might also involve coaches. It’s high time clubs keep their eyes open on some of these deals,” said Dick.
Chronicle Sport can reveal that one of the offloaded players received his letter without the team’s letterhead, but signed by an intermediary (name supplied) and a coach. The Chronicle