World Sports


beMOBILE Premier League championship contenders BDF XI have finally got their man, Master Masitara.

Having set their eyes on enlisting the services of this former Nico United and Bulawayo Highlanders’ forward for some months now, Sun Sports can reveal that the army side has signed him even though the club management still remained cagey on details until press time. For some time late last year, Masitara had been spotted at BDF XI games while he was in the books of Bulawayo Highlanders, raising speculation towards them that he could be headed for the army side.

Over the past months, the club also known as ‘Matebele’ had been on a hunt for a prolific goal poacher after the team was seen to be lacking in firepower upfront despite boasting a solid defence that saw them concede the least number of goals in the league along with other contenders Township Rollers. Both teams have so far conceded seven goals, but it is the scoring of their goals that has left the army outfit worried. It is for this reason that the management believed the inclusion of a striker of Masitara’s pedigree could solve their goal shy strike force. Although they are currently perched at the summit of the log, they have scored twenty three goals, the same as fourth-placed Gaborone United and even lower than seventh-placed Satmos who have scored twenty six goals.

This scenario did not go down well with the hierarchy at the SSKB-bases team, prompting them to begin a hunt for a player to assist strikers Mokgathi Mokgathi and Saukani Zulu who have scored five and four goals respectively. Masitara had been on a six-month contract with Bulawayo Highlanders, which ended in December, and the two parties were just waiting for the January transfer window to seal a deal.

In December last year, BDF XI Chairman Brigader Boikanyo Addanes declined to confirm if Masitara was headed for the team, only saying they would make a big catch in January, the one to help them in their bid to achieve their mission of winning both the league and the Mascom Top 8. Even this week when now contacted for comment with news that Masitara had been spotted at ‘Matebele’s’ training grounds and even took part in their training sessions since Friday, Addanes laughed it off, saying: “A lot of players have been flooding our training ground to try their luck. As for Masitara, yes I can confirm that he is training with us. But I cannot say whether we are signing him or not. Just like others, he is still being assessed by the coach,” he told Sun Sports, adding that agents were calling the club with the hope of having their clients registered with the team. “For instance, George Deda from Zimbabwe wants to bring us players, so we will continue assessing everyone until we are ready to make a decision.

We have talented players locally but it is not anyone who can fit our traditional style of play. The striker we need should be speedy and robust,” added Addanes. He took a swipe at rival clubs and some soccer pundits who have criticized BDF XI’s signings in the past, saying now they were reaping from what was labeled poor signings. “We were teased for signing what was called ‘aged and spent’ players. Now look at Ndiapo Letsholathebe, Boitumelo Mafoko and Moreetsi Mosimanyana. People said we were clueless and signing useless players who have reached their sell-by date. Now the same people are knocking at our doors enquiring about their availability. So wait until next week for confirmation of all movements in and out of our club.” However, a source close to the developments confirmed the deal was almost done, saying BDF XI management was not stupid. “Perhaps it’s military tactics they are playing.

They don’t want to share too much, but the club admire the fact that Masitara contributed largely to Nico’s rise in recent months. He is a mature player and there is confidence that should he turn up for them, he would help them win the league. It is only his paper work they have been waiting to complete,” the source said. Masitara, now 33, was first brought to Botswana by the then Nico head coach Madinda Ndlovu for the 2007/08 season. He bought him from the then Zimbabwean premier league outfit Real Stars who were then relegated with Masitara being the top scorer in the league then. At 17 goals, he then went on to be the joint top scorer in the local league alongside Jerome Ramatlhakwane.

The following season, he scored 27 goals and left mid-way the campaign to join Mozambique-based Liga Desportivo Mulcumana de Maputo. His goal tally was never to be equaled even in abstentia, and he once again won the top goal scorer award in Botswana while playing in Mozambique. Before rejoining Nico after his spell in Maputo, he played for Miscellaneous. In joining the army side, he will re-unite with former Nico coach Elijah Chikwanda, with whom they worked together at the Selibe-Phikwe outfit.

Before his departure for Bulawayo Highlanders, his great exploits as Nico’s hit man had propelled the club’s profile to high standards that saw them threaten to win the league title, and now in his absence, the Selebi-Phikwe side has become a shadow of the potential they were showing, now sitting at number 9 on the league log, with a goal shy strike force that has seen them score 19 goals in 17 games.