The Sunday Mail
FOR Ronald Chitiyo dreams are turning into nightmares faster than one can say Rooney.
Rooney is the mid-fielder’s nickname and there are no prizes for guessing what inspired it.
This time last year Chitiyo was a darling of many and looked ready to step into the big time after years of going around in circles on the local scene.
A starring role in Caps United’s odds defying Caf Champions League run put him firmly in the limelight, he was difficult to miss — even standing at 1, 65 meters.
Unlike on previous occasions when rumours of a foreign move ended up being just this time the offers were concrete and seemed to get better with each no Chitiyo uttered.
Several Egyptian clubs wanted him.
Makepekepeke’s group stage opponents Al Ahly Tripoli also put in a bid after being mesmerised both in Harare and their adopted home of Sfax in Tunisia.
However, the lad who was slowly turning into a journeyman having also played for Monomotapa, Dynamos and Harare City and ended up settling for Tunisian side SC Sfaxien.
With the benefit of hindsight that can be said to have marked the start of Chitiyo’ woos, it marked the start of a journey into the dark that has the lad in limbo and feeling unwanted just twelve months on.
The Tunisian side, who were then banned from registering new players by Fifa, reneged on promises made when they chased after the diminutive midfielder.
They allegedly played the same trick they pulled on Mathew Rusike – promise much and deliver nothing.
Rusike dumped SC Sfaxien and had to go the legal route to get his dues.
“When I signed for Sfaxien I knew what I was getting into but they looked like a better option than the Egyptian teams and Al Ahly Tripoli because they are always doing business with European teams. I considered my career and not the money,” explained Chitiyo.
“The club told me that they had been banned from registering new players but promised to pay me even if I wasn’t playing and I said ‘fine let me sign.’
“But they did not pay me even a single cent and I decided to terminate the contract and come back home at the start of the year.”
But fate wasn’t done with dealing Chitiyo a lousy hand yet.
A few weeks after coming back home he was a victim of a hit and run accident, which left his knee shattered, in Epworth, Harare.
Now the 26-year old requires nearly $12 000 for surgery and feels let down by Makepekepe who are widely expected to deregister him during this mid season transfer window.
“People love you when you are fit and playing but when you are down and out they seem not to care much,” said Chitiyo.
“Yes I wasn’t injured on the field of play but I really expected the club to help me because I am a Caps United player.
“If I really mattered to them would they be dragging their feet on this matter? Can a club like Caps United not raise such an amount? How about borrowing?
“I love Caps United and expect them to love me back. I might not be playing but I am always at the stadium to watch every home game, I am always going to the dressing room to see the coach and the other players …”
A medical expert who has had a look at Chitiyo’s injury opines that the midfielder can still bounce back into the mix if he gets a “very good operation.”
“His chances of coming back would have been enhanced by a timely operation but that did not happen. What is needed now is a very good operation and a rehab program,” said the doctor who cannot be named for ethical reasons.
Caps United chief executive Cuthbert Chitima insists that their failure to get Chitiyo under the knife is due to their tight financial position and not uncaring attitude.
“Rooney is our player, we love him and are running around trying to raise the money that is needed for the operation. We remain hopeful the will operation will be done soon and that it will be a success,” he said.