By Ricky Zililo
A week after signing for Tanzanian champions Simba SC, Zimbabwe striker Perfect Chikwende is still waiting for his international clearance following a squabble for proceeds from his sale between FC Platinum and Bulawayo Chiefs.
The 27-year-old Chikwende joined FC Platinum in 2019 on loan from Bulawayo Chiefs and became an instant hit with the Zimbabwe champions.
The platinum miners reportedly sold him for US$100 000 to Simba, who spotted him during the Caf Champions League games against them.
Chiefs argue that FC Platinum should give them a share from the deal since Chikwende was on loan at the Zimbabwe champions.
The striker had again been loaned to FC Platinum for the 2020 soccer season, but due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the season never kicked-pff.
Zifa advised, albeit on the last day of 2020 that contracts that were due to expire on that day would rollover into 2021.
Chikwende’s case presents a headache to football authorities, but this could have been avoided had Zifa issued the guidelines in the same month that Fifa pronounced on the matter following the suspension of sporting activities due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Fifa’s guidelines involving player contracts and movements during the Covid-19 were issued in April,
Throughout the year, Zimbabwean clubs that continue to pay players’ salaries without football being played were pestering Zifa to give them direction, but the national association only responded on December 31.
Zifa told its affiliates in a letter dated December 31, 2020, that contracts that were supposed to expire that year are still functional since the year’s season was affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.
“The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic caused the delay in the commencement of the football league in Zimbabwe.
Our football season calendar remains as it is unless any changes to the season are adopted at the Zifa annual general meeting (Zifa congress).
“The Zifa congress is the supreme authority with the power to consider the shifting of or change in the football calendar season.
The delay in the commencement of the football season has brought about challenges in respect to employment contracts for the players and clubs,” Zifa said.
If the Zifa guidelines are binding, a club like Highlanders, who lost Brian Banda to FC Platinum as a free agent after paying for his services while inactive, have a leeway to claim compensation since they paid him for services he never rendered.
Both FC Platinum and Chiefs have to find common ground for the sake of the player.
Dialogue is key in unlocking the stalemate, and with reports that the Tanzanians are becoming uncomfortable with the matter, a speedy resolution is needed.
Besides the Chikwende matter, another transfer poser lies ahead for FC Platinum, who are reportedly interested in former Chicken Inn midfielder Innocent Mucheneka.
Reports say negotiations with Mucheneka to join the Zimbabwe champions in time for the Caf Confederation Cup games are at an advanced stage.
To avoid being entangled in another nasty deal, FC Platinum must first engage Caps United for the services of Mucheneka.
Chikwende’s transfer impasse also sucked in the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (Fuz), which dismissed the Zifa guidelines as non-binding.
However, Fuz must avoid being viewed as partisan in its quest to champion the player’s rights.
Threats Fuz made to Chiefs without getting details from all parties involved in the Chikwende matter didn’t sit well with the Chiefs, who dug in their heels.
Fuz gave Chiefs a three-day ultimatum to give Zifa the go ahead to issue Chikwende with an international clearance or face a compensation claim from the player.
Fuz doesn’t need frosty relations with clubs, but must cultivate mutual relations with clubs since they provide employment for its members.
Fuz is a players’ union and must desist from assuming the role of a “Player Status Committee” in executing its duties.
Being belligerent will not yield desired results, but create frosty relations with clubs and in the process jeopardising club-player relations. The Chronicle