Not many people would have backed the signing of a 31-year-old who had not kicked a ball in seven months, but for Kocaelispor coach Mustafa Reşit Akçay, he was so sure that Dino Ndlovu would be the right fit for his club – he was willing to pay the club if he wasn’t!
Dino Ndlovu, a proven goalscorer, has set the scene alight in the Turkish second division this season, but his coach has put his weight behind the striker in the most bizarre way.
The striker was inactive for more than half a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that brought the entire world to an abrupt standstill, meaning that Ndlovu was denied access to China to link up with his team Zhejiang Greentown.
The effects of the pandemic eventually meant that the Klerksdorp-born striker would terminate his contract with the Chinese club, but his impact on the field had a lasting effect to his possible suitors.
“Our coach Mustafa insisted on the transfer of Dino. I told him that Dino had not played for 7 months, and it would be better if we talked to another name. Thereupon, our teacher said, 'I insist that I want Dino. If Dino does not turn out well, I will pay the club,” club President Engin Koyun, told Turkish publication KOZ in an interview.
With nine goals and one assist in 11 matches this season, Ndlovu has surely justified his coach’s faith – but the striker’s red-hot form is both a blessing and a curse for the sixth placed team with a number of top clubs in Turkey sniffing around the player.
"The players that have such a debut and contribute are definitely followed by different teams. However, it is too early to talk about a transfer. I do not have very clear information about this issue, and there is nothing that has come to me, but it is very natural to watch and be interested in the player," the club boss said.
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