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Implication of Gaba’s exit

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Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango stands to get a big pay-out from Bloemfontein Celtic, who terminated his contract on Monday, but the Flames striker might not play actively in the next five months.

Celtic team manager, John Maduka, confirmed yesterday that they will pay out Mhango for sacking him after he penned a three-year pre-contract with another South African Absa Premier Soccer League (PSL) side, BidVest Wits.

“We have stopped him from training. There are some procedures that have to be followed before he leaves. Normally, we have to pay him out. We paid for his two operations [surgeries] hoping that he will extend his contract. Unfortunately, he did not,” said the Malawian Maduka.

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Fifa regulations on player statutes Article 16 state that a contract cannot be unilaterally terminated during the course of a season.

Celtic have unilaterally terminated the contract, hence Sub-section One of the statutes states that a party in breach of the statute “shall pay compensation…. compensation for the breach shall be calculated with due consideration for the law of the country.”

“These criteria shall include, in particular, the remuneration and other benefits due to the player under the existing contract and/or the new contract, the time remaining on the existing contract up to a maximum of five years,” reads the article on www.fifa.com

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The Daily Times understands that Mhango was on a R25,000 (K1 million) monthly salary, whereas Wits’ lowest earners get in the range of K3.3 million (R80,000). Mhango wanted to officially join Wits in July.

Mhango told Kick-Off magazine yesterday that he wanted a new lease of life as Celtic kept him waiting for a new deal.

“They [Wits] called me after the game against Chiefs and told me that they were happy with my performance. They spoke with my agent. They came here, we discussed. After meeting with Wits on Sunday, I decided to sign to them. I will only join them in July but for now I am committed with my job at Celtic because I am still contracted to the club,” the former Bullets star said.

Celtic chairperson, Max Tshabalala, has through his club’s website, reacted angrily to Mhango’s decision, saying he had assured the club of extending his contract

“I deem his conduct to be unprofessional. Remember, he has just recovered from injury and both parties agreed to allow him to fully recover then restart negotiations and that is exactly what we have done. I was incredibly shocked hearing via the media (SoccerLaduma.mobi) and later receiving the letter from Wits confirming the signing.”

Wits opted for a pre-contract with Mhango knowing they exhausted their quota for foreigners. It is due to the exhausted quota that Wits will loan out Mhango’s countryman, Gerald Phiri Jnr.

Mhango cannot play for Wits until July. Even returning home now might not offer Mhango a solace as the TNM Super League is on recess until April. Mhango signed for Celtic in 2013 from Big Bullets.

And according to South Africa-based Malawian sports journalist, Benjamin Nyirenda, it is not automatic that Mhango can start playing for Wits in July.

“It means he is now a free agent and Wits can now fully sign him. That, however, means Wits have to apply for his new Work Permit, which takes a long time now. To apply, one has to go back to your country,” said Nyirenda, who broke the story on Monday.

Wits boss Jose Ferreira, yesterday confirmed to South Africa’s Kick-Off magazine that Mhango can only play for Wits in July, adding “definitely when we open the new season, we will have space for him in the team. I don’t have details of his situation at Celtic and until I have that I can’t comment or act.”

Having taken the PSL by storm last season, Mhango’s career was blighted by injuries. He has scored once this year. So, why are clubs such as Wits and even Chiefs interested in the fading Flames forward?

“Gaba is a good player. Chiefs were indeed also interested, but they were just too slow to make a move. Gaba has not been struggling at Celtic due to form, but due to injuries. Last season, he was Celtic’s top scorer and he was nominated for Rookie of-the-Year Award, you cannot be nominated if you are a bad player,” Nyirenda insisted.

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