By Eddie Chikamhi
Zimbabwean winger, Zanda Siziba, has penned his first professional contract with English League One side, Ipswich Town.
The teenager, who made his first-team bow last year, was rewarded with a two-year contract, for his consistent performances.
Siziba joins fellow Zimbabwean midfielder, Tawanda Chirewa, on the list of contracted players.
The duo are part of the Ipswich Under-18 and Under-23 sides.
Ipswich also have Zimbabwe international, Macauley Bonne, on their books.
He agreed to a season-long loan deal with the team. But, another player of Zimbabwean descent, Tristan Nydam (21), was released by the club, after spending more than a decade in the system.
Siziba is one of the development players, tipped to become a very good pla yer, in the United Kingdom.
Team Zimbabwe-UK chief executive, Marshall Gore, believes he is a good prospect for the Warriors.
“Zanda is an exciting box-to-box midfielder, full of energy. A good dribbler, ball winner and passer,’’ said Gore.
‘’We have spoken with Zanda and his parents. We’re keeping an eye on his progress.
‘’Zanda is definitely a future asset for the Zimbabwe Young Warriors and the main national team.”
His style of play has been compared to Liverpool and Senegalese star, Sadio Mane, by the English press.
At 17, Siziba has already made his senior team debut for the English League One side.
He was one of the young players, who were coming through the ranks at the Tractor Boys, who were handed senior team slots by ex-manager, Paul Lambert.
Only two years ago, when he was still on the books of the Tottenham Hotspur development side, he was highlighted in the British Mirror, as one of six youngsters ‘’tipped to reach the top’’ in England.
Siziba joined Ipswich midway through the 2018/19 campaign.
He was awarded a scholarship by Ipswich Town last year, along with 12 other development players.
They include Antoni Bort, Ben Wyss, Elkan Baggott, Brooklyn Kabongolo, Fraser Alexander, Alfie Cutbush, Liam Gibbs, Cameron Stewart, Harley Curtis, Nyan Mesuria, Ola Bello and Michael Bareck.
From the development group, the club this week decided to hand Siziba, Matt Healy and Stewart, their first professional contracts.
Ipswich announced, in a media statement, they have an option to extend Siziba’s contract by another year.
“The trio are the latest youngsters to be awarded pro deals following on from Albie Armin, Cameron Humphreys and Ola Bello all signing last month.
“Nineteen-year-old Matt, a midfielder, has put pen to paper on a one-year deal, the Club having the option to extend his stay by a further 12 months,’’ the club said in a statement.
“Fellow midfielder Zanda, who made his first-team bow in the EFL Trophy win over Gillingham in October, before making his full debut a month later in the same competition away at Crawley, has signed a two-year deal.
“The Club have the option to extend the soon-to-be-18-year-old’s contract by a further year.”
Siziba’s handlers CAA Base were also excited by the development.
“Many congratulations to Cameron Stewart and Zanda Siziba, who have signed their first pro contracts, at Ipswich Town.
‘’Both were members of the team that reached the FA Youth Cup semi-finals last season. Well done lads!” CAA Base said on Twitter.
Siziba has good company at the club in England-born Zimbabwean midfielder, Chirewa. Chirewa signed his first professional deal, with the club, last year, after rising through the team’s ranks.
The 17-year-old will be at the club until the summer of 2022, with the team having the option to extend the contract, for a further 12 months.
Chirewa has made one appearance for the Blues, coming on as a substitute against Colchester United in the EFL Trophy, in November 2019. The Herald