Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
FORMER Zimbabwe Under-23 captain Ronald Pfumbidzai has become the latest local player to try his luck in the South African Premiership with the CAPS United left back attending trials at Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs.
Pfumbidzai has been conspicuous by his absence at the CAPS United pre-season training which started two weeks ago.
But it has emerged that, despite his differences with the club, it is the CAPS United management that facilitated Pfumbidzai’s trial stint at Amakhosi.
Pfumbidzai quietly sneaked out of Harare for Johannesburg where he will now try to impress Kaizer Chiefs’ English coach Stuart Baxter this week.
Chiefs, who are also home to the Zimbabwean trio of striker Mathew Rusike and midfielders Willard Katsande and Ovidy Karuru, are currently on an African Cup of Nations enforced break in the South African Premiership.
But the ABSA Premiership log leaders, just like all the teams in their league, have resumed training and are this week fine-tuning from the Western Cape where Pfumbidzai has joined them for his trial stint.
Chiefs also had another Zimbabwean, Kingston Nkatha, on their books for this season but the former CAPS FC man opted to join rivals SuperSport United ahead of the expiry of his contract at Amakhosi in June.
Now it seems Chiefs, who have always believed in Zimbabwean players, might just replace Nkatha with Pfumbidzai on their foreign slot. Pfumbidzai had a fine season with CAPS United last year and was one of the key men in coach Taurai Mangwiro’s side that bravely fought for a third-place finish on the Premiership standings.
Although he has his dispute with CAPS United, with the player teaming up with Dominic Chungwa and Stephen Makatuka to drag the Green Machine to the Labour court, club chief executive Joe Makuvire revealed yesterday they had looked at the broader picture.
“I can confirm that Ronald is indeed in South Africa and his trip is with the blessings of the club. In fact, it was a club initiative and we facilitated the trials so we are fully aware of what is going on and we are on top of the situation,’’ Makuvire said.
After having shipped four players to Mamelodi Sundowns — Method Mwanjali, Simba Sithole, Nyasha Mushekwi and Lionel Mtizwa in 2010, it would be a rarity for CAPS United to have their player join Chiefs but Makuvire said they enjoyed good relations with a number of clubs in South Africa.
Makuvire played down the issue of the litigation they are facing from the players and said they were keen to see Pfumbidzai secure a contract with a bigger club outside the country. “It (litigation) happens in football. As a club we always try to get the best opportunities for our players and we never let petty issues affect what we try to do. We consider the best interests of a player and the best interests of the club,’’ Makuvire said.
Makuvire also sounded optimistic about Pfumbidzai’s chances indicating that they believe the defender is destined for bigger things in his career.
Pfumbidzai also becomes the second trialist at the South African Glamour club ahead of the close of the transfer window with midfielder, Wesley Ntshangase, reportedly seeking to earn himself a full-time move to the Soweto giants.
Makuvire also maintained they had struck an understanding with Makatuka, who had been linked with a move to Harare City, before the deal fell through due to the defender’s contractual obligations with CAPS United.
Harare City have clarified that they are not buying players who are still contracted to clubs and have instead resorted to targeting free agents for their new acquisitions in a move aimed at curbing expenditure.
Makuvire was a bit skeptical about Chungwa’s chances.
“The challenge is for Dominic to decide whether to play for CAPS United or not but I must say if his heart is not with CAPS it doesn’t mean that he is not replaceable. We don’t worry about getting replacement strikers,’’ Makuvire said.
Pfumbidzai, however, is not the only Zimbabwean international seeking to beat the Friday transfer deadline to seal a new deal in the South African Premiership.
Warriors and Mpumalanga Black Aces striker Tendai Ndoro remains a huge target for both Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates.
Ndoro, according to reports from South Africa, has revealed to a source close to him that his heart is with the Buccaneers and it would not come as a surprise if he signed for Pirates.
“He didn’t train with the rest of the players today,” the source said.
“He was called into the office to discuss the offer from one of the big teams.” Ndoro has five goals in 15 starts for Aces who currently lie ninth on the Premiership table.