Ntouba returns to DeMbare
DYNAMOS’ Cameroonian forward Christian Joel Epoupa Ntouba’s hopes of making the big move to South Africa league champions Bidvest suffered a major drawback after he got injured on the first day of training with the Clever Boys.
Ntouba arrived back in Zimbabwe yesterday disappointed with an ankle injury that would need at least four weeks to fully heal. Unfortunately, by the time he is expected to be fit the South Africa mid-season transfer window will be closing, putting paid to his hopes of making the breakthrough.
The 24-year-old was tipped to impress Clever Boys coach Gavin Hunt following a superb season with DeMbare.
According to reports from South Africa, Ntouba lasted barely 20 minutes into the assessment by the Wits technical department before he fell victim to a crude tackle which ended the trials prematurely.
His manager Gilbert Sengwe received him at Robert Mugabe International Airport yesterday and confirmed the striker would return to Dynamos where he still has a year on his contract.
“This is a sad chapter for the player. He got injured the same day that he arrived in South Africa. I am told he was at the receiving end of a nasty tackle inside the first 20 minutes of the training.
“So he had to come back here because he only had two weeks on his visa. The doctors have recommended that he needed four weeks applying ice on the affected area and it makes everything difficult because by the end of the month the transfer window will be closing.
“We are still receiving offers from South Africa, but then I am not sure if we can risk him to go for trials again in this current window. He also had two weeks on his visa,” said Sengwe.
The technically gifted striker had a flying start to his career in Zimbabwe which he spiced up with classy goals that have made it difficult for the ABSA teams to ignore.
His manager said he is also handling enquiries from as far afield as Belgium and Germany.
Ntouba was a contender for the Castle Lager Premiership Golden Boot award, but his scoring touch somehow deserted him later in the season.
The big striker finished a joint second on 12 goals with Black Rhinos’ Lot Chiwunga, five behind top goalscorer Dominic Chungwa who has since moved to South Africa’s Polokwane City from Harare giants CAPS United.
Still, the Cameroonian was one of the two DeMbare players who made it among the 11 Soccer Star of the Year finalists, with his captain Ocean Mushure.
Dynamos had also hoped that they benefit from what appeared a big money move after putting a R2 million price tag on the big forward.
His handlers are now looking forward to the July transfer window, but it was not clear if Bidvest Wits are still interested in having a second look at the West African.
Ntouba has been linked with big clubs that include Supa Diski giants Kaizer Chiefs, Ajax Cape Town and Polokwane City.
Although they had an eye on Ntouba, Bidvest Wits recently signed another forward Lehlohonolo Majoro from Cape Town City.
Gavin Hunt’s side have also brought on board former Orlando Pirates man Edwin Gyimah and recalled winger Sifiso Myeni from a loan spell at SuperSport United.
Bidvest are struggling to defend the championship title and they have amassed just 11 points from 14 games forcing the Johannesburg outfit to embark on a serious crusade to boost their arsenal during the January transfer window.
They have also secured the services of Cape Town City captain Robyn Johannes, Maritzburg United skipper Denis Weidlich and Polokwane City striker Thobani Mncwango for next season.
BY Eddie Chikamhi