Flames midfield workhorse Dave Banda on Wednesday became the latest victim of Malawian players finding it tough in South Africa after being transfer-listed at the Premier Soccer League (PSL) side Black Leopards.
South African online publication www.supersport.com reported that Banda is not among the five required foreign-based players Leopards will register for the 2012/2013 season.
His agent Kondi Msungama confirmed the development on Thursday, describing it as a blow, but said he will find him another club before the closure of the transfer window on August 31.
“I have not spoken to Leopards but I spoke to the player who confirmed he has been released. We are now going to look at the contract so that he should be paid off for the reminder of the deal as he had two years remaining on his contract.
“But he is a good player and is in form. I will get him a club very soon, but not in South Africa,” said Msungama.
Banda and Leopards could not be reached for comment.
wrote: “Banda featured heavily for the side in the CAF Confederations Cup this year, but he is the sixth foreign player on the clubâ€™s books and they have decided he will be sacrificed to meet the PSLâ€™s limit of five non-South Africans per club for each campaign.
“Goalkeeper Otshudi LamÃ¡ (Mozambique), defender Harry Nyirenda (Malawi), midfielder Djunga Munganga (DR Congo) and strikers Brian Amidu (Zimbabwe) and Joshua Obaje (Nigeria) will be registered instead.
“Banda will now have to sit on the sidelines for the entire 2012/13 campaign, unless he either buys his way out of his contract, or can persuade another club to stump up a transfer fee for his services.”
South African media reported in June that Banda had been off-loaded from the club, but the teamâ€™s management dismissed the reports, saying he was still part of the team.
“The decision to off-load him was made then, but Leopards decided to still keep him as they were playing in the CAF Confederations Cup and he was part of the squad. They could not let him go because Leopards had few players registered for the cup. Now that they are out of the competition they have decided to officially let him go,” said a close friend who opted for anonymity.
Coach Kinnah Phiri described the development as a setback to the Flames.
“It is a pity that day in, day out, our top players are becoming clubless when we need them to be playing regular football at club level to stay fit ahead of the crucial game against Ghana next month,” said Kinnah.
His exit at Leopards means that Flames have only five players in the PSL namely Atusaye Nyondo (Supersport United), Robin Ngalande (Bidvest), Robert Ngâ€™ambi (Platinum Stars), Harry Nyirenda (Leopards) and Limbikani Mzava (Celtic).
On Monday, Orlando Pirates also transfer-listed striker Chiukepo Msowoya. Black Leopards also terminated the contract of Grant Lungu in January as well as Fischer Kondowe and Bernard Harawa last August.
Just last month, Amazulu also fired Flames vice-captain Moses Chavula whereas Carara Kicks did not renew the contracts of defender Sankhani Mkandawire and Jacob Ngwira.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said the association will institute an independent probe on why Malawian players are failing to make the grade in South African football.
“I do not understand how a spectacular player like Dave, who is our midfield anchorman and has shown at higher international level, be considered a surplus at a small team like Leopards. Something is wrong.
“We will institute an investigation because a lot has been speculated and it does not make sense. Zambian, Zimbabwean, Mozambican, Botswana and Namibian players, some not even at the level of ours, are all shining in South Africa while our best are discarded. We need to find a concrete answer.
“South Africa is the best destination for our footballers in Africa because the standards are high and there is great exposure and high perks and there is no problem with our players flocking there,” he said.
There have been reports that South African coaches and administrators demand payments from foreign players to be signed or play games for their respective clubs.
Banda joined Leopards last year in a historic move from Red Lions that made him the first soldier to go for professional football.