22 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Energy Murambadoro Bids His Time

FORMER Warriors first-choice goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro is not in a hurry to join any South African soccer team and will only do so at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season in August this year.

Murambadoro is currently club-less after he was deemed surplus to requirements at South African Premiership side Bidvest Wits at the beginning of the current campaign.

But the 30-year-old former CAPS United goalminder said yesterday from his base in Johannesburg that he was far from hanging up his gloves and was looking at joining another team in South Africa in June.

In fact, Murambadoro will be eligible to be granted a permanent residence status in South Africa in June this year and he will no longer be affected by the foreign quota system in that country.

He also dismissed recent media reports that he was back home in Zimbabwe, waiting to make his next move.

"I am (currently) in Johannesburg and I will only be coming back to Harare for some private business at the end of this week.

"I started my training programme at the beginning of this month and I have received a couple of offers from teams here in South Africa so I will see how it goes. There are a number of South African teams that are interested in my services right now but this foreign quota system is stopping them from opening any negotiations with me at the moment and they would rather sign me in June when I'm qualified to get a permanent residence permit here in South Africa. In fact, it's better for me to wait until June for my next move and besides that, I still have a contract with Wits which also expires in June this year," Murambadoro said.

He also revealed that he would love to come back home and train with his former club side CAPS United while waiting for his next move in South Africa.

"I'm still very much active and I would like to assure everybody here in South Africa and back home in Zimbabwe that I'm not yet a spent force," Murambadoro said.

The agile goalkeeper joined Bidvest Wits in June 2008 after having played for two other South African teams Hellenic and Benoni Premier United.

In 2010 he was loaned by Wits to another South African side Mpumalanga Black Aces and made five appearances there before he returned to the "Clever Boys".

Murambadoro moved to South Africa after having spent the 2004-2005 season turning out for Israeli club Bnei Sakhnin and was part of the team that played in the then Uefa Cup (now Europa Cup) during that term.

And one of his most memorable moments during his short spell at Bnei Sakhnin was coming up against English Premiership side Newcastle, who were led by former England deadly striker Alan Shearer, in the Uefa Cup.

However, Murambadoro left Bnei Sakhnin in a huff before his loan period ended in May 2005, saying he feared for his safety in the volatile Middle East.

Bnei Sakhnin were not amused by the move and they initially refused to grant Murambadoro a reverse international clearance despite appeals from both the player's former club CAPS United and Belgian agent Gino Laureyssen, who had facilitated his move to the Israeli side.

Murambadoro later went club-hunting in England in July 2005 where he failed in his bid to join Leeds United and Crystal Palace.

His trial stint at Leeds was hampered by complications arising from an appendix operation he had undergone before travelling to England.

Plucked from rural Gokwe by former CAPS United head coach Freddie Mkwesha in the late 1990s, Murambadoro, who was once valued at 1 million pounds, was the Zimbabwe senior national soccer team's first-choice goalkeeper during their debut appearance at the African Cup of Nations finals in Tunisia in 2004.

At the 2004 Nations Cup finals, Zimbabwe finished bottom of their group in the first round of competition, thus failing to secure qualification for the quarter-finals.

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