Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
BULAWAYO Chiefs have put a hefty bounty of US$30 000 for each player targeted by Highlanders.
Chiefs seem keen to hold onto players that starred in their miraculous escape from relegation after a number of Castle Lager Premier Soccer League sides officially approached the “Twitter Kings” for the services of some of their key players.
Dumisani Mantula, chief executive officer of Chiefs, confirmed that the country’s “big” three, Highlanders, Dynamos and Caps United as well as Triangle United have inquired about the availability of some of their players.
Goalkeeper David “Rambo” Bizabani, striker Farau Matare and defender Marlvin Mkolo, who can play on the right side or in central defence, have been heavily linked with possible moves to Highlanders.
Left-back Brendon Mpofu, who was also a Bosso target, is reportedly in Harare, with Caps United and DeMbare said to be jostling for his signature.
Mantula said the US$30 000 price tag attached to each player on demand is not meant to scare away their suitors, but it’s what they feel is a fair price for their prized possessions.
“We did get some few offers and communication from various clubs amongst them our big brother Highlanders, Dynamos, Caps United and Triangle United, making inquiries about some of our players. We responded appropriately. One has to note that these are contracted players and contracted as they are, they’ve value placed on them which has been communicated to interested clubs,” said Mantula.
“We expect them (interested clubs) to respond to figures and start negotiating from that region. These figures are not meant to scare away teams or try to stop players from moving, but in a market it’s open to debate on how the owner values his products. As Bulawayo Chiefs, we’ve invested a lot in developing these players and we know their value. The amount we have charged is meant for us to go back to the market and look for a replacement that is almost at par with the ones we’d have lost,” he said.
Dynamos are said to have inquired about the availability of midfielder Arthur Musiiwa and Young Warriors utility player Shadreck Nyahwa, who is also being hunted by Triangle United.
League champions FC Platinum are said to be keen on Matare, with goalkeeper Bizabani on Triangle United coach Taurai Mangwiro’s radar.
Some Chiefs’ players feel the club has let them down, alleging that the Twitter Kings reneged on their word to let them go once they got offers.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get interest from a club like Highlanders or Dynamos for our growth and marketing. We’ve served Bulawayo Chiefs well and last season when they asked us to extend contracts, we didn’t want because we feared that they will not allow us to move when we get better offers, but they promised to be reasonable and now this is how they repay us for our loyalty? To be held against our will is not good, but what can we do?” said a disgruntled player.
Mantula reiterated that they are not holding players against their will.
“We expect all our first team players at training today (yesterday). The only players who are free agents are Brendon Mpofu and Shepherd Mhlanga, as for the rest they have running contracts. Bulawayo Chiefs is a growing club that wants to be professional and when players move, it has to be in an organised way,” said Mantula.
Chiefs began their preparations for the season yesterday. — @ZililoR.