The Sunday Mail
In football, like any other sport, there are players who are simply nomadic, journeymen who are unattached to any club and to them the team’s badge does not invoke any spiritual or emotional affection. Those whose bags are always packed, ready for the move to wherever their trade takes them, as long as their bread is buttered at the end of the day.
Then there are those whose careers are either revived or launched whenever they move from one club to another, those whose careers constantly need a new challenge every now and then.
Lest we forget the disciples, trusted lieutenants who are always on the trail of their favourite coaches whenever the gaffers change base, the type of players who have a sworn “eternal” allegiance to a single mentor.
Welcome to the drama-filled world of the football transfer window, the intricacies and hidden plots that characterise the football players’ market, and the last transfer market had its own fair share.
The window, which officially closed on March 26, could be ranked as one of the busiest in recent years, what with the massive player movement that was witnessed as clubs readied their machines in the run-up to the 2014 Castle Lager Premier Season.
The arrival of corporate-backed clubs like Triangle in Chiredzi and recently ZPC Kariba, has also seen a massive flow of labour towards these towns as players seek a financial cushion while the stable army teams like Black Rhinos and Chapungu have also had a massive say in player movement.
While the search for greener pastures is the major driver for player migration, there are players who are naturally “flight risks” and will move at any slightest opportunity.
The likes of which are the complete opposite of internationally renowned club loyalists like Ryan Giggs of Manchester United, Steven Gerrard of Liverpool and Chelsea’s John Terry.
Rickety centre back Norman “Wezhira” Togara, gangly striker Tawanda “Finger” Nyamandwe, the stocky Njabulo “Tshiki” Ncube and Limited Chikafa would best typify the class of nomads, having featured for more than 20 teams between them.
Togara’s move to newly promoted ZPC Kariba during the off-season makes him arguably the most travelled player in the history of the Premiership as he has now featured for eight clubs in the past 10 years — a ratio of almost a club every season.
Masvingo United, Dynamos, Caps United, Shooting Stars, FC Platinum, Gunners and Triangle have all played house to the nomad, who is always ready to justify his wandering habit.
“I am a family man and the problem is people do not understand that aside from kicking that ball, we also need to feed our families,” Togara always says, as he justifies his propensity to move from one club to the other.
Togara has been joined at ZPC Kariba by another renowned wanderer, Nyamandwe, a player whose sojourns have taken him to Kiglon, Lengthens, Motor Action, Dynamos, Monomotapa and Caps United.
One has a feeling that ZPC Kariba, who coincidentally hail from a resort town, might turn out to be a perfect retiring zone for the ageing players who trekked to the Mashonaland West-based club.
FC Platinum’s new recruit Ncube has played for almost 10 clubs in the last decade and it remains to be seen whether Zvishavane will be his final base before he hangs up his boots.
Tshiki has featured Railstars, Motor Action, Masvingo United, Nico United and Taffic of Botswana as well as former PSL side Quelaton.
How Mine have also proved to be a preferred destination for the Premiership veterans nearing the retirement zone although coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube, thanks to his tactical acumen, has managed to make full use of the last kicks of the dying horses.
With a cast that already had the likes of Herbert Dick, Gilbert Banda, Menard Mupera and Ephraim Mazarura, Chikurupati was certainly going to be the destination of choice for veterans George Magariro and Marvel Samaneka, who joined from Caps United and Motor Action.
The loyalists were also part of the transfer news with the major highlight being the reunion of Norman Maroto with his mentor Moses “Bambo” Chunga at Chiredzi FC.
Former Shabanie Mine attacking linkman Pervington Zimunya was lured to Caps United by Taurai Mangwiro, years after the duo worked together at Masvingo United while ageless defensive linkman Tafadzwa Mombeshora followed Luke Masomere to Buffaloes.
Not forgetting the sensational transfer of highly rated central defender Gift Bello, who dumped DeMbare in favour of FC Platinum where his “football father” Lloyd Mutasa is in charge.