ZIMBABWEAN Tando Yuji Velaphi is eyeing a move to South Africa to play in the Absa Premier Soccer League in the near future.
Velaphi (28), born of a Zimbabwean father and a Japanese mother and based in Australia, is currently the first-choice shotstopper at Melbourne City Football Club in the Hyundai A-League which has been home to Spanish great David Villa. Villa has previously played for giants Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
He was on loan from New York City in the US. Melbourne City is owned by English giants Manchester City under their City Football Group.
Speaking to Southern Eye Sport yesterday from his base in Australia where he was born, Velaphi said he relishes a time when he will re-establish his ancestral links and values by being closer to home and playing in the Absa PSL.
His contract at Melbourne City ends in June, but his handler, who has been making contacts in South Africa Oscar Ncube said the sooner the goalkeeper moves, the better.
“It is something (playing in South Africa) that I am interested in. It would be challenging and it would be an exciting opportunity. I am turning 28 and football is my job. I don’t want to grow older before making a move. However Oscar (Ncube) is dealing with all stuff. I would not comment much, he (Ncube) looks after that business of making contacts in South Africa. Africa is my home,” Velaphi said.
Ncube said: “At the moment Tando is now playing and most likely will get a better deal or a move to South Africa is still on the cards. I have two promises but not guaranteed moves yet.”
Velaphi did not rule out a move to Europe if anything came up and still wanted to be considered for the Warriors.
The goalkeeper was born in Perth, Western Australia in April 1987 and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport Soccer Programme.
He was in the Australia Under-20 Youth National team from 2005 to 2007 earning 12 caps and he has nine from the Australian Under-23 national team.
He has also played for Brisbane Roar, Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart in Australia.
Velaphi moved from Melbourne Heart to City in 2013 and is now the first choice goalkeeper.
He has 30 clean sheets in over 86 senior appearances.
His love for his roots has seen him making a donation to Shumba Football Development run by former Warriors midfielder Edelbert Dinha in South Africa and Ncube says they are planning to make donations in Zimbabwe in the future.