The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda Senior Sports Reporter
GOALKEEPER Munyaradzi Diya has no intentions of leaving Highlanders and the player is close to penning a two-year contract extension with the Bulawayo giants.
Diya’s contract with Highlanders expires at the end of the season with the player keen to extend his stay at the club he joined in 2012. “I am in talks for a two year contract extension, my brother only signed a pre-contract while I was away, when I came back I signed for myself. I have settled here, Highlanders is a big club with a big reputation. It is every player’s dream to play for a big club and God blessed me to be here,’’ said Diya.
Ndumiso Gumede, the Highlanders chief executive officer said the Highlanders’ executive was seized with the matter of Diya’s extended stay at Bosso.
“The player has told the team manager that he wants to stay at Highlanders, he has even moved his family to Bulawayo, the matter of his contract extension is currently under discussion,’’ said Gumede.
After seeing less action for most parts of this season with Ariel Sibanda being the preferred choice between the posts, there has been much speculation that Diya could be on his way out of Highlanders with his former club Dynamos being his likely destination.
The 29-year-old Diya has, however, quashed such assumptions, even with Dynamos short of an experienced goalkeeper following the departure of George Chigova to South Africa.
Ironically, Munyaradzi’s brother Tichaona is the Dynamos goalkeepers’ coach.
However, Diya says moving back to Dynamos would be taking his career backwards.
“I want to stay at Highlanders, I don’t mind even if I am second or third choice, I will fight for my place,’’ said Diya.
Last season, Diya grabbed his chance at Highlanders with some spirited performances for Amahlolanyama. His memorable display for Highlanders came in the Mbada Diamonds Cup semi-final clash against Harare City at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane where he converted a penalty in normal time, another one during the shootout and also made a save in the penalties as Bosso won the match 5-3 on penalties. Bosso went on to win the competition with a 3-0 victory over How Mine in the final played at Barbourfields Stadium.
Diya’s efforts did not go unnoticed as he was voted among the 11 Castle Lager Soccer Stars for last season.
He started this season as the Highlanders first choice goalkeeper but fell out of favour when he conceded what looked like easy goals in league matches against Hwange and Chicken Inn which ended in 1-1 draws at Barbourfields.
Towards the end of last season, Diya went for trials at former ABSA Premiership side Golden Arrows. He, however, decided to stay at Highlanders by signing a new contract which expires at the end of this year.
Diya also went to try his luck at South African National First Division side Witbank Spurs, although nothing materialised.