The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
AJAX Hotspurs director Siphambaniso Dube who groomed Divine Lunga at the Mpopoma-based side, believes the player deserves to play in Europe following his move to South African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns.
The 26-year-old left-back was announced as a Sundowns player on Friday following the expiry of his contract at Golden Arrows last month. He has since penned a five-year contract with Masandawana. Dube said Lunga has always been a talented player and showed lot of promise from his early days and should follow his peers such as Marvelous Nakamba to play in Europe.
“I hope the move will open up more avenues for him (Lunga) as he deserves to play in Europe considering his work ethic and talent. He is a natural winner, have won the Under-16 championship and the Zifa Bulawayo Province Division 2 race while with Chicken Inn. He won the Under-18 league and the Premiership. He has played in the Caf Champions League before and I think he will fit in well at Sundowns and can achieve a lot with the club even at continental level,” he said.
Dube said Lunga joined Ajax as a 11-year-old and believes when the player moved to Chicken Inn at 17, he was a finished product. Lunga has been a regular feature for Golden Arrows, since joining them in 2018, and made 84 appearances for the club. He scored once and provided four assists.
However, the news was bittersweet for Dube as he is battling to get compensation for grooming the player. While being overjoyed the left-back has managed to secure a contract with one of the biggest clubs in Southern Africa, Dube was left ruing the lackadaisical approach to rewarding junior development in the country lamenting lack of compensation for the player.
Dube said despite Fifa coming up with a rewards model that sees clubs that were involved in the development of players at junior level getting solidarity funds, Zifa has not enforced the mechanism despite the fact the football mother body is also due a percentage of the fees. The football administrator said he has been forced to take the legal route and has engaged a Cape Town-based firm that has agreed to take on his case and assist him recover his dues.
“I have not been sitting on my laurels as I tried to pursue a political solution thinking I will get Zifa to amend rules and ensure that I get what I deserve but I hit the brick wall and then I decided to go the legal route. I engaged a law firm that is based in Cape Town, South Africa and they are handling the matter on my behalf,” he said.
According to Fifa Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP), training and development, “a club is compensated when a player, prior to the end of the season of his 23rd birthday, signs his first contract to play professionally in another country (called Training Compensation)”, and when a player is subsequently transferred at any age between clubs in different countries before the expiry of his current contract in exchange for a transfer fee (called a Solidarity Payment).