By Tadious Manyepo
Ngezi Platinum Stars coach, Rodwell Dhlakama, is aware of the hole created by the departure of some of his key players to the team.
But, he said, the club are not in a rush to replace them until after football activities resume in the country.
The former Young Warriors gaffer assembled one of the strongest teams, at least on paper, in preparation for the 2020 Premiership season.
The 2020 season was, however, cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to promoting some of the impressive youngsters, from the Mhondoro team’s Under-19 side, Dhlakama added 12 solid signings.
However, the continued break in football activities in the country, seems to be destabilising his team, with some of his players opting out of Baobab.
Already former captain, Frank Makarati, has walked away for free to join Dynamos.
Makarati’s contract, with the platinum miners, expired in December last year, and the two parties failed to agree a new deal, resulting in the highly-rated central defender penning a deal with the Glamour Boys.
Speedster Michael Charamba, who spent almost the entire 2019 Premiership season on the sidelines due to a knee injury, was expected to strengthen Dhlakama’s charges.
But, again, he has walked away.
Charamba has since joined Bulawayo side, Chicken Inn, as a direct replacement to the retired Clement Matawu, who is now the team’s administrator.
Two more players from the Mhondoro-Ngezi side, Keith Murera and Mandlenkosi Mlilo, are understood to be on their way out, with Dynamos, their most likely destination.
Dynamos have confirmed talks between them and Ngezi are already underway regarding the transfer of Murera, the longest-serving player at Baobab.
However, Dhlakama is not going to immediately look for plugs for the holes.
Instead, the respected tactician, who helped Norman Mapeza win the league title with Monomotapa in 2008, will elevate some young players, from the team’s development side, at least, for now.
He said his club would have gone onto the market, had the season been underway, as his technical team would have been aware of the players who were doing well.
“Our position, as a team, is that we need to sign players, based on performance, but it’s a little difficult now because there is no activity,” said Dhlakama.
“So, signing a player at the moment, is very risky, especially the aging players because we don’t know when football will resume.
“We have a lot of players, in our development side, who can step in and do duty for the team at the moment.”
While some of Dhlakama’s charges continue to be lured out of Baobab, Ngezi have been able to retain some of their key players, including goalkeeper Nelson Chadya.
The Young Warriors ‘keeper, just like Makarati, was linked with a move to Dynamos after the expiry of his term in December last year.
However, he has extended his stay by two more years. The Mhondoro side had some issues with midfielder, Gerald Takwara, who wanted to force a move to South African side Chippa United, in the last couple of months.