BY FORTUNE MBELE
WARRIORS and Highlanders striker Prince Dube (pictured right) could become the latest Zimbabwe football international to make a breakthrough move to France after attracting the attention of two unnamed clubs in the Western European country.
The 23-year-old free-scoring striker was set for a trial stint in France, but the trip was cancelled due to Covid-19-induced travel restrictions.
His representatives, however, remain optimistic that he will get another chance to finally secure a big move, which could see him becoming the third Zimbabwean plying his trade in France, joining Marshal Munetsi and Tino Kadewere.
In the interim, Dube — whose contract at Highlanders is set to expire in December — will join Tanzanian top-flight side Azam in a short-term deal. One of the terms of the contract is that Azam, which is also home to Zimbabwean players Bruce Kangwa and Never Tigere, will have to allow him to fly to Europe for the trial stint in France.
The player’s manager Gibson Mahachi was in Bulawayo on Saturday where he met with Bosso and Azam representatives to finalise the negotiations.
“I can confirm that Azam were interested in the services of Prince Dube and they have reached an agreement with Highlanders. The interest from Azam came at a time I was working on securing him a move to go to Europe and we are still working on that. We have had inquiries from France and had it not been for this Covid-19 thing, Prince would have gone there for trials. There are two clubs interested in him there, they wanted him and still want him, but Prince cannot travel and time is running out,” Mahachi told Standardsport in an interview yesterday.
He added: “This is why one of the conditions for his move to Tanzania is that we will be able to still continue with our French deal if the borders are opened so that if the French club says come next week, we would not have problems. These are the mechanisms and some of the things that we had to make sure Azam understand and agree to and obviously you need to have a buy-out clause to allow us to still continue trying to work on a better deal for Prince. We finally agreed on everything [with Azam] today [yesterday].”
Bosso chairman Kenneth Mhlope on Friday confirmed that the Bulawayo giants were in discussions regarding the departure of Dube.
Bosso reportedly received a US$50 000 transfer fee for the player and are keen to secure a share of earnings from his future transfer should he finally secure his move to Europe.
“The deal will benefit both the club and the player in the immediate and in the long run. It was always the desire of both parties to secure a route into European leagues for the young striker, hence the careful consideration given to the arrangement currently in process,” Mhlope said.
“The negotiations are in line with one of the objectives of the club’s business side — moving players to competitive leagues. Initially, the club and Prince had envisaged the player’s direct move to European leagues, but due to the outbreak of coronavirus, a pandemic that brought the world to a standstill, both parties had to consider other avenues.
“Dube has pending trial invitations in Europe, which have however, been elongated because of global movement restrictions due to coronavirus. Cognisant of the fact that these trials’ immediate success is not guaranteed, the club and the player have agreed to listen to other offers.”
The details of Dube’s imminent move to France come as a relief to local fans who felt his talent deserves a better stage than the Tanzanian top-flight league.
“Mgadafi”, as Dube is affectionately known by the Highlanders fans, has been working hard to revive his career after enduring a frustrating period in South Africa where he failed to make an impact at SuperSport United following his move in July 2017.
After being released by SuperSport United, Dube made a return to his boyhood club Highlanders at the start of last season where his goal-scoring form led the Bulawayo giants to the Chibuku Super Cup title.
The talented Zimbabwe international striker also helped the locally-based Warriors qualify for the African Nations Championships.
His form earned him the Castle Lager Soccer Star of the Year second runner-up award and a call-up to the Warriors squad for the 2021 Afcon qualifiers against Botswana and Zambia.