HIGHLANDERS were by Thursday afternoon still hopeful of acquiring the services of Bulawayo Chiefs’ Ishmael Wadi following reports that frontman Ozias Zibande’s contract will not be renewed by the club.
Bosso chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede yesterday said negotiations between Chiefs and Highlanders had stalled as there was a clause in his clearance that the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) does not accept.
Apparently the PSL does not accept any clearance that contains conditions attached to the transfer of a player.
“The negotiations had never in the initial stages involved a swap until the letter came. Even when the letter came we told them that the PSL doesn’t want a clearance with conditions,” he said.
Highlanders coach Bongani Mafu said they have made headway in terms of negotiating with Chiefs for the forward.
“We had moved a bit and I am still negotiating with Bulawayo Chiefs coach Thulani Sibanda,” he said.
Mafu wrote off the renewal of Zibande’s contract saying if the Wadi deal does not materialise they had identified a junior playing in their Division Two side to come in his place.
Zibande is said to have been dilly-dallying in terms of renewing his contract because of what Mafu termed “bad advice”.
“Ozias is gone. I decided on the Monday meeting. If he came back, I’m not going to sign him because we cannot work like that.
As I speak, we are waiting for Wadi. I have Brian Banda and I have explained to him that if the Wadi deal does not go through he is coming in,” Mafu said. Zibande’s contract ends today and he has not renewed it despite efforts by both the coach and CEO to have him sign a new one.
Mafu has said he would give his young players a chance in their clash with Dynamos on Sunday in the ZNA Commander Charities final at Rufaro Stadium.
“My idea is to play everyone in the team so that I can assess them. I am a little worried that Highlanders hasn’t beaten Dyamos in several seasons and it seems it is now affecting players and our supporters psychologically,” he said.
Mafu said he was itching to see some of the players who include Godfrey Makaruse playing, but he will also add experience to the team.
Highlanders have Mthulisi Maphosa and Gabriel Nyoni on the injury list while Teenage Hadebe, Know Mutizwa and Nqobizitha Masuku are with the Young Warriors ahead of their African Championship qualifier in South Africa tomorrow. “Nyoni had a slight injury, but he had light training and he is willing to play this weekend. Maphosa is out for a long time. It’s the same knee that has been giving him problems. Felix Chindungwe is expected back today (yesterday). He had gone to attend a family issue,” he said.