The speculation surrounding Terrence Dzvukamanja’ future in South Africa’s DStv Premiership was resolved yesterday after it was confirmed the Zimbabwe international was leaving Soweto giants Orlando Pirates to join rivals SuperSport United.
Dzvukamanja, who experienced unjustified attacks by the club’s fans last season before proving his critics wrong towards the back-end of the campaign, caught his employers off-guard as the Buccaneers had wanted him to be part of their 2023-24 Champions League squad.
The 29-year-old’s contract with the Soweto giants expired at the end of June, and despite Pirates’ keen interest to retain his services, his future had largely been shrouded in uncertainty.
The South African media reported Pirates were confident of having him on board, especially after he had played such an important role for the side during the second half of last season, scoring the winner in the Nedbank Cup final against Sekhukhune United in May.
But the Soweto giants yesterday confirmed in a statement that Dzvukamanja requested clearance and that they had received enquiries from SuperSport United.
The club, however, appeared unhappy with the circumstances surrounding the striker’s departure, as the player appeared to have tricked the side to release him back to Zimbabwe and only to get inquiries from rivals SuperSport.
“Terrence Dzvukamanja, approached the club pleading to be released to play in Zimbabwe to be close to home in order to address pressing family matters.
“After consideration, the Club offered to pay his salary whilst sorting out his personal issues at home. The Club acceded to this on compassionate grounds.
“As part of the Club’s commitment to players’ welfare, Orlando Pirates makes an effort to, where possible, meet the players’ requests in circumstances that help amongst other things, their mental well-being.
“The Club was therefore surprised by an approach from SuperSport United for the player’s services since the Club had made plans to include the player in their CAF Champions League squad.
“With this new development, the Club will release Dzvukamanja to SuperSport United,” said the statement.
Dzvukamanja, who suffered from lack of game time in the first half of the season, went through difficult times with the Pirates fans when he was not playing well.
The striker was a victim of abuse as the rowdy Buccaneers supporters booed him and some going to the extent of threatening to kill him.
The former Ngezi Platinum Stars man was transfer listed by Pirates in January before the club made a U-turn.
The 29-year-old forward revealed his plight in a Pirates’ documentary on SuperSport TV recently, detailing challenges that were faced by players and team staff last season.
“I received death threats, they didn’t want me here (at Pirates),” he said.
“It happened last year, from September 2022 until December.
“They (fans) would come into my inbox, and called threatening me to quit the club or I die. I don’t even know where they got my number from.
“There was a time I went to a mall, and someone told me directly, “If you can’t leave, we will make you leave.”
“They kept sending messages saying, “We know you are ignoring us, but if you don’t tell your agent or your bosses you want to leave, we will either make you leave the club or leave the earth.”
“I had to tell my parents and my agent, even the boss of the team, about the death threats.”
“I was scared at that time, I won’t lie, because anything can happen. Sometimes I would come to training but my mind was not there.
“It affected my game because mentally I was not OK. I would say that, yes, I went through depression because sometimes I would feel it was better for me to drink alcohol so I could relax or else it would be stressful.
“It was very stressful. It was draining me emotionally. They said I had to leave the club because I didn’t deserve to be at Pirates.”
But Dzvukamanja overturned his struggles and capped off the season with eight goals in 19 matches in all competitions last season, as Pirates also finished second on the DStv Premiership table to qualify for the CAF Champions League.
He was also the hero as they won the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup title, in which he netted a dramatic last-minute winner on the final day of the 2022/23 domestic campaign.
Overall, Dzvukamanja featured in 76 matches during his tenure with Pirates.
He scored 15 goals and contributed eight assists since joining the club in September 2020 from Bidvest Wits.
According to Pirates, they had plans of including the player in their squad for the 2023/24 CAF Champions League edition, but got to learn that the player had been approached by SuperSport.
The player has officially been released by Pirates and will reunite with head coach Gavin Hunt, having worked together at Bidvest Wits.
He is expected to help SuperSport in the Confederation Cup campaign.