Ricky Zililo Senior Sports Reporter
AMBITIOUS Bantu Rovers FC are close to signing two players with American Major League Soccer (MLS) experience Greg Klazura and Mike Rose. The former Premiership side, eager for a topflight return have been busy beefing up their squad and according to online information, the duo used to turn out for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, one of the three Canadian teams in the MLS.
Bruce Grobbelaar the legendary Highlanders, Liverpool and Zimbabwe goalkeeper turned out for the club in the late 1970s.
Klazura who turned 25 on January 27, is a defender and made four appearances for Vancouver last year with 24-year-old midfielder Rose spending most of the season playing in the reserves.
According to sources at Bantu Rovers, the duo sneaked into the country a fortnight ago with Tshintsha Guluva keeping their presence a secret.
Rose played in Bantu Rovers’ 2-1 win over Black Boots at Unit Fairbridge last week while his countryman watched from the terraces.
“These guys have been around for two weeks or so and have been training with us. I think the club is in the process of applying for their ITCs (International Transfer Clearances). They will play for Bantu Rovers after impressing the coach (Methembe Ndlovu) as they are technically gifted and understand Methembe’s style of play,” said the source.
Rose and Klazura were expected to be part of Bantu Rovers’ squad that travelled to Zvishavane on Saturday. Contacted for comment, Bantu Rovers’ spokesman Wilbert Sibanda was diplomatic in his response, saying they will announce their final squad this week.
“We are in the process of recruiting players and as for Rose and Klazura, I cannot say much because there are some things that we are still working on. Remember we have a number of relations with overseas clubs and as part of building the relationship, it might not be surprising to have some players coming for attachments and Bantu Rovers also sending some there,” said Sibanda.
Apart from Rose and Klazura, some of the players that are training with the ambitious club include veteran strikers Sizalobuhle Dube who was at How Mine last season and former Railstars and Chicken Inn’s Lenience “Qobho” Mpofu.
Bantu Rovers are also said to be strengthening their technical department and are reportedly close to sealing deals with former Chicken Inn coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu and ex-Quelaton boss Farai Sibanda who are going to be assistant coaches to Methembe Ndlovu.
Mpofu and Sibanda were during the off-season seen identifying players at soccer tournaments dotted around Bulawayo during the festive break alongside Ndlovu.
“Our goal is to assemble a winning team that will lead our campaign and that includes players as well as technical personnel.
“There isn’t much that I can say except that we are going to unveil our technical team and players for the 2014 season before the end of the week,” Sibanda said.