By Tadious Manyepo
Three years after youthful midfielder Joseph Mandevhani’s career appeared to have received the lift it was desperately crying out for, he is still to get a breakthrough into professional football.
Mandevhani won the first edition of the Shield-Chelsea talent search programme in the country in 2018.
He beat over 2 000 other players ,and was given a rare opportunity to be part of Africa’s XI, which played against the Chelsea Legends in London.
The 21-year-old became hot property, wanted by a number of top teams, after flew back home from England.
But, somehow, the teams, including the top ones in the lower divisions, lost interest in him.
He even tried his luck in Zambia, including in that country’s academy system, but still failed to impress.
Three years on, Mandevhani is still to find a team with Herentals, which had given him a chance, set to off-load the lanky midfielder.
He had been signed by coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva, ahead of the aborted 2020 Premiership season.
But with former Herentals playmaker, Kelvin Bingala, making a return from Zambia’s Lumwana Radiants, it has emerged Mandevhani will be sacrificed for the speedy midfielder.
“Yes, Joseph Mandevhani is on our books but he is set to be offloaded to make way for Bingala (Kelvin), whose contract with Zambian side Lumwana Radiants, has expired,” revealed sources at Herentals.
“Mandevhani needs time to really master the art and he can continue to be developed, under the team’s juniors, that is if he is comfortable with that.
“Otherwise, he will have to wait before he graduates into the senior team.”
It’s a little surprising that Mandevhani, who earned rave reviews from Chelsea development coaches when he was selected at Belgravia Sports Club, has failed to find a club in three years.
The Chelsea development coaches includes Laurence Griffin, Antony Myers and Steve O’Reilly.
“We were looking for someone with skill, who is comfortable with the ball and in Joseph I think we have that.
“I thank the local coaches who had a torrid time to trim the players from a large number like 2 000 to 34.
“We also had tough time so they did a splendid job,” said Griffin.
The local coaches, who headed the selection, include Callisto Pasuwa, Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu, Naison Muchekela and Alois Bunjira. The Herald