Ray Bande Senior Sports Reporter
Newly formed Mutare-based football outfit – Manica Diamonds – will start signing contract agreements with preferred players today (Friday) after an overwhelming turnout of more than 230 players during their trails where a galaxy of former Premiership stars also came in their numbers to try their luck.
The Manica Diamonds project, whose birth came as a huge surprise to many especially in Mutare where football fans had been deeply yearning for corporate partnership from diamond mining initiatives in Marange, is promising to be the next big thing for the game, not only in the province, but the nation at large.
The team is bankrolled by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company (Pvt) Limited operating in Chiadzwa, Marange. Manica Diamonds head coach, Luke Masomere – the self styled ‘doctor of football’ – confirmed that his team will start signing players today (Friday) as they seek to maximise on the time left before the start of the Eastern Region Division One League.
“We will resume training on Thursday (yesterday). We gave players that came for our trials time to go back to their former clubs and get clearance letters. They are expected to come today (Wednesday) in time for Thursday’s resumption of training and then go ahead with the contract signing process. We are happy with the pool of players that we got during our trials and we have no doubt that we will build a formidable squad capable of achieving our goals as a team,” he said.
Masomere refused to be drawn into commenting on prospective players that he could be eyeing.
“I really cannot give names at this moment simply because some of the players might have running contracts with other clubs. We can only talk about names after we have put pen to paper with respective players,” said Masomere.
However, Post Sport witnessed a galaxy of former Premiership stars flocking the Manica Diamonds trials at Sakubva Stadium. Former Dynamos and Black Rhinos defender, Sydney Linyama, fellow ex-DeMbare players, Steven Alimenda, Tawanda Muparati, forward Benjamin Marere, former How Mine goalkeeper, Munyaradzi Dhiya, Simon Choenda, former Eastern Lions and Chapungu left back Moses Gutu, former Mutare City Rovers and Shabanie Mine defender William “Munhu” Mapfumo, Xolane Hadebe, Nelson Tachi, ex-ZPC Kariba attacking midfielder, Patrick Dubbs and Philip Makanje are some of the well known former Premiership players who turned out for the Manica Diamonds trials.
The huge turnout at their trials at Sakubva Stadium coupled with the attendance of well known former Premiership players left many with reasonable impression that the club would offer lucrative contracts for their players.
Manica Diamonds has since made efforts to incorporate a number of Mutare-born football personalities within their technical and administration ranks such as Lazarus “Kabila” Muhoni and Peter Masibera who were part of the technical team that was assisting Masomere during trials at Sakubva Stadium.
Although it was not clear whether Timothy “Sicho” Masachi would also be part of the technical team, former Masvingo United coach, Johannes “Dutch Mentor” Nhumwa is understood to be Masomere’s first assistant.