By Eddie Chikamhi
WARRIORS skipper Knowledge Musona appears to be headed back to South Africa with news from Belgium that his parent club Anderlecht are planning a massive clearance sale to pay off debts that have risen to over 95 million euros.
The 29-year-old has been linked with an interesting move to South African football giants Mamelodi Sundowns, who are rivals to his former team Kaizer Chiefs, which is home to Warriors’ teammate Khama Billiat.
The two Zimbabwean childhood friends are likely to play against each other if the plan by Anderlecht sails through. Musona, who signed a four-year contract from KV Oostende in 2018, is one of the players that have been identified for disposal by the Belgian club.
The Warriors man has fallen out of favour at the club and it appears the only way he could be able to play football again is by moving away.
Sadly, Musona has not featured in any of the competitive matches for the club this year with 21 league games played now.
Musona only played 10 games for the club since he joined Anderlecht almost two years ago, scoring once and providing two assists.
He spent the past six months on loan at Lokeren‚ where he played just six league games and scored one goal.
The former Kaizer Chiefs man has not made his unhappiness a secret but the club has been finding it difficult to dispose of him because of the expensive contractual obligations.
According to reports from Belgium, Anderlecht are riding on debts amounting to 95 million euros. The club has had a difficult season and they posted a loss of 27 million euros compared to last season. They are aiming to recoup some funds through the sale of players, albeit at a loss.
“In order to reduce its debt, Anderlecht want to sell 10 players. We made the list and found that RSCA once paid 21.7 million for all those currently on display.
“The sale will inevitably go hand-in-hand with a loss, because many boys played less than a minute this season. In their ideal scenario, the Purple & White will recover around 10 million this winter. Wait and see if it works,” reported the Nieuwsblad.
The club’s CEO, Jo Van Biesbroeck, spoke in an interview with Sporza on Sunday about the financial state of the club, whose balance sheet is in the red, as well as the consequences.
Anderlecht are aiming to sell about 10 players to reduce the salary burden. With a core of 37 men and 11 loaned players, most of whom Anderlecht still pay part of the salaries, the situation is untenable.
According to the manager, Anderlecht suffered a loss due to a combination of circumstances.
“First, because we didn’t compete in the Champions League last year, but the Europa League. It makes a difference of around 10-11 million euros. Second, because we finished lower in the league table and that costs us money in terms of TV rights.
“And thirdly because we have chosen to keep the whole nucleus. Payroll is the main reason for the financial loss. And that has not decreased, because at the beginning of the year, we had also put our young talents under contract.
“We will not continue to work with this nucleus. We will gradually reduce the group and sell players that we could have sold last year,” said Biesbroeck.
Musona was bought from Oostende for 2.5 million euros in 2018.
Rivals Saint-Truiden showed some interest last year but due to a groin operation, a move could not materialise. Despite his inactivity, there is still growing interest from South Africa, but there is a huge question whether the clubs will be able to meet his high wages.
The Aces Youth Academy alumni enjoyed great success at Oostende where he plundered 35 goals in 103 appearances over a period of three years.
Prior, he had also played in Germany with Hoffenheim but he could not blossom in the tough German Bundesliga. Some of his best memories are yet in South Africa where he made his breakthrough in professional football at Kaizer Chiefs just over a decade ago.
The Smiling Assassin scooped the South African Golden Boot with 17 goals in 2010-11. Age is also no longer on his side, at 29. It is not clear yet whether Sundowns will be able to pay his “expensive” salaries, if they manage to get him. Right now it appears interests from European clubs have died down.
And the TimesLIVE in South Africa has established that Sundowns, and not Chiefs, have emerged as the front runners for the signature of Musona and “have made an attractive offer” to the prolific striker.
TimesLIVE is reliably informed that Sundowns are actively courting the signature of the “Smiling Assassin” as he seeks a return to the Absa Premier Soccer League. The Chronicle