BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
COSTA Nhamoinesu is closing in on a surprise move to Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters in what could be his last big move abroad after recently ending a successful career at Czech Republic football giants Sparta Prague in July.
The 34-year-old former Zimbabwe international defender’s future has been uncertain in recent weeks after leaving Sparta Prague, which had been his home for the last seven years.
Nhamoinesu joined Sparta Prague from Polish side Zagłebie Lubin in July 2013 before going on to attain legendary status after becoming the most capped foreign player in the club’s history.
However, the uncertainty surrounding his future looks set to end soon with reports from India last week suggesting that the former Masvingo United and AmaZulu defender could be on his way to India in a move that could make him one of the most high-profile footballers in the cricket-mad nation.
The Indian football website IFT News Media reported on Thursday that Nhamoinesu was in advanced talks to join the two-time Indian Super League finalists Kerala Blasters.
“Kerala Blasters in advance talks to sign the Zimbabwe defender Costa Nhamoinesu. He has also featured in Uefa Champions League and Europa League. For the last seven years he has played in the top division in Czech Republic. He has also previously played (in Poland) under Kibu vicuna in Zagłebie Lubin,” the website revealed.
If the move goes ahead, Nhamoinesu would become one of the most experienced defenders in the Indian Super League.
After spending seven years in Poland with Wisła Ustronianka and Zagłebie Lubin from 2006 to 2013, Nhamoinesu went on to make a record 203 appearances for Czech football giants Sparta Prague between 2013 and July this year.
He was also the first African to wear the captain’s armband at Sparta before his departure after his contract came to an end two months ago.
After leaving Sparta, Costa, who recently attained a Masters Diploma in Sports Management with the prestigious Johan Cruyff Institute which is based in Barcelona, Spain, revealed his desire to continue with his professional football career.
“The most important thing (after leaving Sparta Prague) is to stay healthy. I feel fit and strong. I feel like I can still push more. Hopefully, I will get a team to play for because I would like to continue playing,” he said.
The move to India will give him an opportunity to take on a new challenge in the competitive league, which features a number of experienced foreign players, including from countries such as Spain and Brazil.
Despite playing second fiddle to cricket, football in India has grown in stature and popularity in the last few years since the formation of the inaugural Indian Super League in 2013.
Some of the world finest players such as Alessandro Del Piero, Robert Pires, David Trezeguet, David James, Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda, Freddie Ljungberg, Diego Forlán, Asamoah Gyan and Dimitar Berbatov featured in the Indian Super League towards the end of their careers.
The 2020–2021 Indian Super League season will entirely take place behind closed doors in three venues across the state of Goa due to the Covid-19 pandemic from November 21 to March 21, 2021.