Van­cou­ver White­caps eye Zim soc­cer star

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Te­dious Manyepo Harare Bureau

UNHERALDED France-born Zim­bab­wean striker Salade Machemba could play in the Ma­jor Soc­cer League after Canada-based club Van­cou­ver White­caps ex­pressed keen in­ter­est in sign­ing the striker.

The 25-year-old is cur­rently on the books of Ital­ian side Ata­lanta but he wants out as he has been frozen out of the squad by new man­ager Gian Piero Gasperini who re­placed Ed­uardo Reja in the off-sea­son.

Machemba signed a three-year con­tract with the club in Fe­bru­ary this year hav­ing been swooped from Manch­ester City Un­der-21 side. But, since then the striker has strug­gled to break into the se­nior team.

He had hoped to nail a start­ing place in the team this sea­son but his dreams were shat­tered after Reja was shown the exit be­fore the start of the cur­rent sea­son.

Ata­lanta BC have not even reg­is­tered him on their 201617 sea­son. This is de­spite that Machemba had im­pressed in the few min­utes he was thrown onto the field when the Ital­ian club played English Premier­ship side Crys­tal Palace in an off-sea­son friendly.

But, de­spite all the on-field dis­ap­point­ments, Machemba said the club was hon­our­ing all their con­trac­tual obli­ga­tions, in­clud­ing pay­ing the striker his salary.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, Van­cou­ver White­caps are keen to sign the player next Jan­uary. Machemba said there is a buy-out clause in his con­tract and from the look of things, he was set to leave for Canada.

Re­ports sug­gest that one of the key share­hold­ers at Ata­lanta has been fa­cil­i­tat­ing the deal for the Zim­bab­wean.

Un­like some Zim­bab­wean play­ers who have shunned to play for the national team, Machemba said he will hon­our the call if he was to be re­quested by the coach. He has never rep­re­sented any coun­try be­fore. “I am ready to play for Zimbabwe if I am se­lected by the coach. I have never rep­re­sented any coun­try be­fore as I was fully con­cen­trat­ing on my stud­ies. My ex­pe­ri­ence in England (with Manch­ester City U-21s) and in the Serie A is enor­mous and could help in a way if I am called to do duty for Zimbabwe,” he said.

Be­sides Van­cou­ver White­caps, sev­eral other clubs have shown in­ter­est in the for­ward.

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