Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Highlanders pair of midfielder Brian Banda and striker Tinashe Makanda have signed pre-contracts with Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions FC Platinum.
The two’s contracts with Bosso expired on June 30 and Banda was reportedly on Chicken Inn’s radar.
Makanda had a free loan offer from Stellenbosch in South Africa turned down by Bosso last year and he leaves as a free agent after joining two seasons back.
It is Banda’s loss that Highlanders will feel, as the midfielder grew up in the system, graduating from the juniors to the first team only to leave for free.
The Entumbane-bred Banda had established himself as a vital player in the Bosso midfield, with his exploits also charming Chicken Inn gaffer Joey Antipas.
In 2018, Ngezi Platinum Stars showed an interest in Banda’s services, but the midfielder chose to stay at Bosso.
Usually impeccable sources said Banda and Makanda had signed for FC Platinum and the deal will sail through once Zifa gives guidelines on player movement during Covid-19 since the Zimbabwe season had not yet started when the pandemic broke out.
“Makanda and Banda are going to FC Platinum and they’ve signed pre-contracts. Highlanders has lost them,” said a source.
At FC Platinum, the duo will reunite with Dutch coach Hendrick Pieter de Jongh and midfielder Denzel Khumalo, who quit Highlanders at the end of last season.
Banda and Makanda are among a host of players in the domestic league whose contracts have expired without kicking a ball in 2020 because of Covid-19.
Chicken Inn goalkeeper Samuel Mafukidze is a notable name on the list of players whose contracts have also expired.
FC Platinum spokesperson Chido Chizondo could neither deny nor confirm that Banda and Makanda had signed pre-contracts with the Zvishavane side.
“We have a policy which states that we do no comment on players contracted or have running contracts with other clubs without consent from that club. If, however, the technical team expresses interest and we have the slots, only then can we talk to that team. If the player is a free agent we will talk to him or his intermediary, but that is only if our technical team requests for the player’s services and we have slots available,” Chizondo.
She could not be drawn into divulging whether the club had openings.
Highlanders refused to comment.
Zifa is yet to communicate to its affiliates Fifa guidelines to be followed in player transfers since all leagues worldwide were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. – @ZililoR