from WELLINGTON TONI in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE – THE closure of borders and international travel restrictions have dashed the hopes of Zimbabwean stars eager to pursue careers in the South African Premiership and overseas.
A football agent confirmed no less than five Zimbabweans were due for trials in South Africa but the coronavirus (COVID-19) had put paid to such moves as the border between the two countries has been shut.
It is only open for the repatriation of nationals. That itself has led to a surge of COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe. Some returnees have tested positive, bringing the number of cases to 512 by Tuesday.
Gibson Mahachi, the agent, said the five players from top-flight clubs, Caps United, Highlanders and Ngezi Platinum, were initially supposed to attend trials but the travel restrictions have stalled the tryout with South African clubs.
In a related development, Marvelous Chigumira and Nigel Katawa, have reportedly sealed deals in Russia after attending trials before the onset of the virus.
However, they cannot go back to their new bases due to travel restrictions and until football returns.
The Zimbabwean hopefuls were among 22 players that had travelled abroad.
“This was for trials in Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between February and March,” Lee Masuka, the Click n Pay managing director, said.
The online solutions firm has partnered a football agency, Dynamic African Stars, to keep talent search alive in the midst of the COVID-19.
It offers an online talent search in Africa.
“The Football Talent search platform is where players, agents and coaches register online and have an opportunity to scout, be scouted and exported to Europe,” Masuka said.
Benjani Mawurawari, the former star at South African sides, Bidvest Wits, Chippa United and Jomo Cosmos, is an ambassador of the project in Southern Africa.
He also had stints in England, France and Switzerland.
– CAJ News