South African Premier Soccer league (PSL) side Bloemfontein Celtic failed to persuade Escom United to authorise the clearance of defender Limbikani Mzava so that he could feature against Orlando Pirates last Friday in an MTN8 quarter-final showdown.
In the countdown to the match, Celtic officials, including their Malawian team manager John Maduka tried in vain to push for Mzavaâ€™s ITC [international transfer certificate] as Escom put their foot down and said that they would only authorise clearance upon getting R176 000 (about K6.3 million) transfer-fee balance from Celtic.
Celtic lost the game 1-0 and their chief executive officer Kumbulani Konco expressed disappointment with Escomâ€™s conduct.
â€œThey [Escom] gave us an assurance that they would authorise the Malawi FA to issue the ITC after we had affirmed to wire the money by this weekend.
â€œUnfortunately, when we contacted the Malawi FA, they told us that they had not received the green light from Escom to issue the ITC. Apparently, our efforts to get hold of Escom officials were unsuccessful.
â€œIt was unfortunate because Mzava was in our plans for the game and we felt Escom should have been understanding enough,â€ said Konco.
Escom chairperson Fanuel Nkhono could not be reached for comment, but he told The Nation last week that they would only authorise the playerâ€™s clearance after receiving the transfer fee balance.
Said Nkhono last week: â€œFor Celtic to register Limbikani they will require an ITC from FAM. And for us to do these formalities, we need to get the transfer fee balance from Celtic.
â€œUnfortunately, payment of the transfer-fee balance has been long overdue, but they have complied and have given an undertaking to pay the money. We have since furnished them with our account details,â€ said Nkhono.
Broker of the deal Ben Chiwaya confirmed the development, but refused to shed more light on the issue.
â€œI can confirm that Celtic wanted to use Limbikani in Fridayâ€™s game, but it seems they could not get hold of Escom to authorise the playerâ€™s clearance,â€ he said.