Peter Ndlovu (37), who was taken out of retirement by Division One side Highfield United, has been loaned to Black Mambas, ahead of the Northern Region Division One order barring players aged over 25 player to take part in the league.
Seventeen Northern Region Division One clubs have signed a petition calling for the rescinding of the decision.
Highfield United is among the signatories but was quick to say yesterday that they signed the petition in solidarity with other clubs because Ndlovu had already been loaned to police side Mambas.
“We have not been affected as most our players are aged 20 years on average,” Zivanai Chivangwa the Highfield United chairman said.
“Peter Ndlovu has been loaned to Black Mambas. He is already training with the club.”
The resolution which has far -reaching implications, is set to render thousands of Golden Oldies jobless.
The ruling allows clubs to register only five players over the age of 25. Of these, only two would be allowed to be featured in a league match.
The clubs, who signed the petition, are against the decision because:
a. The clubs have long standing contracts with players who have been in their books before the resolution was passed and they have a legal obligation to pay the players while they are not productive.
b. Most players reach their peak at around 25 and it makes little sense for a club to lose its valuable assets at the stage they are more productive.
c. The world over it is the norm that when players reach the twilight of their careers in the top flight, they join lower Divisions and use their experience to assist the clubs gain promotion. Why then should Zimbabwean clubs only from the Northern Region be denied this chance?
Paul Gundani, the Football Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) secretary general said most Northern Region clubs were against the resolution to bar over 25 players.
“We have always told the executive that clubs will not agree to that resolution but they claimed that a number of clubs had agreed to the resolution at a meeting that they held recently.
“As FUZ we have taken the issue up with Zifa which has castigated the move and said it was not a noble idea at all,” Gundani said.
Gundani added that they had to deal with this issue once and for all before the soccer season starts in few weeks time.
Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said it was a harsh decision.
“As Zifa we are not going to let that happen at all. We will see to it that the resolution is not effected this year or even other years to come because a competitive league has no age limits.
“We have made it clear that if people want to nurture talent they should introduce a junior league in their regions,” Mashingaidze said.
The clubs that signed the petition are army side Black Rhinos, Commando FC, Flame Lily FC, Mwana Africa, Lengthens, Douglas Warriors, Harare City FC, Highfield FC, Cossy Rules, Karoi FC, Township Rangers, Eiffel Flats FC, ZPC FC, DSTV FC, Renaissance FC, Quick Turn FC and Best Academy. Only D-C Academy did not sign the petition.
These clubs argued that all the benefits of a player are gained at 25 as the player will start playing mature football.
“You do not expect a player to retire at the age of 25 surely if England is still persuading Paul Scholes to come out of retirement at the age of 37 why should 25 year old players be banned in Zimbabwe,” an official from Black Rhinos asked.