BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
FC Platinum striker Perfect Chikwende is ineligible to play for his new side Simba SC in the CAF Champions League group stages after joining the club from the Zimbabwean champions on Friday.
The Tanzanian football champions are believed to have paid an around US$50 000 transfer fee for the red-hot 27-year-old forward.
Chikwende has already featured for FC Platinum in this competition, scoring in each of the two rounds played so far, and would have loved to increase his tally against some of the best clubs in Africa.
Simba SC, who eked out a flattering 4-1 aggregate victory over the Zimbabwean champions, have been drawn in Group A of Africa’s premier club competition alongside Al-Ahly of Egypt, AS Vita from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudanese giants Al-Merrikh.
The Tanzanian club, currently without a coach following the departure of Belgian Sven Vandenbroeck, are in second place in their domestic championship with 35 points from 15 matches, nine points behind log leaders Young Africans.
But they have three matches in hand.
The former Bulawayo Chiefs forward will come in handy in Simba’s bid to clinch their fourth Mainland Premier League title in a row, but he will have to fight for a starting role alongside Rwandan striker Meddie Kagere, Bocco, and Chris Mugalu.
The Tanzanian giants confirmed the signing of Chikwende on their social media pages.
“Perfect Chikwende is officially red, our fellow. Chikwende, who is a Zimbabwe citizen and playing in the attacking position, has joined the reigning champions from Zimbabwe giants FC Platinum,” the club said in a statement.
“Chikwende also played for the Bulawayo Chiefs in Zimbabwe. We are signing him because of the targets we have set for the season, welcome to the group of winners Chikwende ‘The Bull’.”
Apart from winning the local league title, Simba also revealed in November that they have set themselves the target to reach the semi-finals of this campaign’s CAF Champions League.
They beat Nigerian side Plateau United FC in the preliminary stage before accounting for FC Platinum in the first round.
But their performance against FC Platinum left a lot to be desired and exposed the team’s lack of quality as they went in search of new arsenal.
However, Chikwende is the only player signed by Simba during the mini-transfer window which closed the doors on Friday.
According to the club’s CEO Barbara Gonzalez, they are not in a hurry to appoint a replacement.
“When it comes to getting a new coach, the process is usually lengthy since it requires much attention by going through all the available documents,” Gonzalez told reporters in a recent interview.
“If you make decisions in a hurry to find him, it may affect you throughout the whole season,” she noted. She named some of the nationalities of people whose CVs have reached the club, are from Serbia, France, Portugal, and many others from different parts of the world.
“We have put in place key requirements of the incoming coach we need like club coaching experience. If you remember, when Vandenbroeck came in, he had vast experience at national team level only and it took more time for him to catch up.
“He should also have experience in CAF club tournaments as among other essential requirements for the job’s qualification.”