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Zim striker in Spain for trials

Darlington Majonga

JOSEPH Ngwenya could become the first Zimbabwean to play in the highly regarded Spanish premiership should he

impress during a two-week trial at ambitious La Liga side Getafe.

The 25-year-old striker, who is yet to win a Zimbabwe international cap, has been in Spain since Monday after he was recommended to Getafe by former Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who lives in Los Angeles where Ngwenya started his professional career.

The United States-based Ngwenya impressed Klinsmann who in turn encouraged his former Germany team-mate Bernd Schuster, the Getafe coach, to have a look at the Zimbabwean.

Media reports from Spain said Ngwenya could join Getafe during the January transfer window if he makes the grade during the two-week trial.

Ngwenya is highly regarded at Columbus Crew whom he joined in May from fellow Major Soccer League side Los Angeles Galaxy.

The Plumtree-born striker scored a career-high five goals for Columbus Crew which won him the club’s Golden Boot award in the just-ended season.

Columbus Crew coach Sigi Schmid said he had already started building his team around Ngwenya, who kickstarted his career as a student during his days at the Coastal Carolina University in the United States.

The dreadlocked Ngwenya was called up for Zimbabwe’s 2006 African Nations Cup finals camp but had to pull out after a groin injury.

However, a move to Europe will not only see Ngwenya rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s greatest players but will position him for a key role in Zimbabwe’s national team.

Zimbabwe desperately need players in top European leagues to boost their competitiveness in Africa as well as on the world stage.

Meanwhile another Zimbabwean, Tinashe Mukundwa, is now training with Scottish top-flight side Hearts’ Under-14s.

His father Milton said the young footballer was enjoying training with Hearts, who might offer him a contract later.

The 13-year-old Mukundwa has been receiving rave reviews in Scotland, where he has been a prolific scorer for amateur Strollers FC as well as his Royal High School team. He started playing football at eight when he was at Chiremba Primary School in Ruwa before his family moved abroad.

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