Malawi national football team (the Flames) skipper Peter Mponda has become the latest Malawian player to end his romance with South African football.
Â He has agreed to a mutual termination of his contract with Nations First Division (NFD) side Santos. At first, the Cape Town-based outfit was reported to be reluctant to accept Mpondaâ€™s request as he still had a year remaining on his contract, but after weeks of negotiations, the club gave in on condition that they would take him back on board after his rehabilitation.
â€œOf course, I had a year remaining on my contract, but I will not play until late this year and that is why I asked Santos to seriously consider a mutual termination of the contract.
â€œIt was not easy, but management were understanding in the end, especially the chief operations officer Edries Burton,â€ said Mponda who has since returned home.
Asked why he thought of terminating the contract when he had a chance to start afresh after his rehabilitation, Mponda said: â€œThere would have been no need for me to hang on when the NFD only allows three foreigners. Why should I be there, when I will not play for the next four months or so?â€
However, Mponda could not be drawn to comment whether he will return to South Africa after his rehabilitation.
â€œI just have one or two more years of active football before I bow out. So, for now I cannot tell whether I will return to South Africa or not,â€ he said.
However, Mponda hinted on prospects of ending his career at his former club, Big Bullets.
â€œMaybe, I can play for a foreign team for a year and then join Bullets as a way of thanking them for giving me the platform to showcase my talent. You never know, let us wait and see,â€ he said.
Mponda also talked about taking up coaching as a career once he bows out.
Burton confirmed the development in a telephone interview from Cape Town on Saturday saying: â€œWe still wanted to keep Peter [Mponda] as he still had a year left on his contract, but regrettably, he insisted on terminating the contract.
â€œNevertheless, it was agreed that after his rehabilitation, we could still consider taking him back.â€
Mponda, who was Santos player of the season for 2010/11 season, suffered a career threatening injury last year in a league game against Maritzburg United. Since then he has been on and off.
Other local players whose contracts with South African teams have also been terminated include Dave Banda, Moses Chavula, Chiukepo Msowoya and Joseph Kamwendo.