Nhamoinesu swansong for India
By Eddie Chikamhi
Zimbabwe international defender, Costa Nhamoinesu, could spend the remainder of his career in India where he has been linked with Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters.
Nhamoinesu, who recently ended a seven-year marriage with Czech Republic giants Sparta Prague, is not attached to any club.
The 34-year-old indicated he still wanted to play and has quietly been hunting for a club where he could wind up his career.
Reports from India indicate the tough-tackling defender has had talks with Kerala Blasters and agreed, in principle, to join the Indian side.
Indian sports publication IFT News Media yesterday claimed the Zimbabwean defender had agreed to sign for the Super League side.
“As we were the first media to report Costa Nhamoinesu deal, now we can also confirm that (the) Zimbabwean defender has signed a contract with Kerala Blasters.
“He will be surely one of the players to watch out for in this season of the Indian Super League,” reported the publication.
Football in India has grown in stature, and popularity, in the last few years since the formation of the modern Indian Super League in 2013.
Nhamoinesu could join a long list of some of the world’s finest players who have played in the Indian Super League in the last five years.
The Indian Super League has provided homes for Brazilian legends Roberto Carlos, Robbie Keane, Alessandro Del Piero, Robert Pires, David Trezeguet, David James, Nicolas Anelka and his French compatriot Florent Malouda.
Former Sweden captain and Arsenal stars Freddie Ljungberg, Diego Forlán, Helder Postiga, Asamoah Gyan, John Anne Riise and Dimitar Berbatov are also some of the players who have featured in the Indian Super League towards the end of their careers.
At 34, Nhamoinesu is nearing the end of a career spanning almost two decades.
The former Masvingo United defender began his European career, in earnest, with Polish fifth division amateur side KS Wisla Ustroniaka in 2007.
In July 2008, he joined Zaglebie Lubin on loan, before signing permanently in 2010.
While at Lubin, he became one of the most highly-rated left-backs in the Polish league.
After spending seven years in Poland, with Wisla Ustronianka and Zaglebie Lubin from 2006 to 2013, Nhamoinesu went on to make a record 203 appearances for Czech football giants, Sparta Prague, between 2013 and July this year.
He won the league championship, in his debut season, and crowned it with the Czech Cup and the Czech Super Cup in 2014.
He also lifted the Czech Cup towards the expiry of his contract earlier this year.
Nhamoinesu, who was hailed as a Sparta Prague legend by legendary ex-Czech Republic captain, Tomas Rosicky, was also the first African to wear the captain’s armband at Sparta.
After leaving the club, Nhamoinesu said he wanted to continue with his professional football career.
“The most important thing (after leaving Sparta Prague) is to stay healthy. I feel fit and strong,’’ he said.
“I feel like I can still push more. Hopefully, I will get a team to play for because I would like to continue playing.’’
India’s IFT News Media revealed that besides Nhamoinesu, Kerala Blasters, who were once owned by India’s legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, and draw their name from his moniker “Master Blaster”, have been on a recruitment drive ahead of the new season. They unveiled Spaniard, Vicente Gomez, on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old midfielder last played for Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna in the Segunda Division.
Vicente Gomez will become the third confirmed foreign player at Kerala Blasters for the upcoming ISL 2020-21 season.
Former Kerala Blasters have signed Argentinian attacking midfielder, Facundo Pereyra, and retained Spanish midfielder, Sergio Cidoncha, from last season.The Herald