WHEN the 2019 local Premier Soccer League rolled bristling with attacking talents that set the top flight alight, the name Clive Augusto was difficult to ignore.
The lanky 24-year-old forward was a new addition that took Zimbabwe’s elite football division by storm scoring an incredible 14 goals from 17 games in Chicken Inn colours.
The forward’s fine form saw him win the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League’s April and May Player of the Month awards in the process steadily poising himself for the country’s Golden Boot award at the end of the season.
In July, at the Gamecocks team awards ceremony, Augusto, who joined Chicken Inn from Ngezi Platinum Stars at the beginning of the year, won four Man of the Match awards out of the 13 games that had been played. Each Man of the Match award, sponsored by Chicken Inn’s partners Zibuko Capital, had prize money of $200.
He was also acknowledged by his teammates who voted him the Players’ Player of the Month for April, May and June, winning $3 000 sponsored by Bonvie. He got an additional $2 000 for being voted the Black Shark Player of the Month for April and May.
Naturally such prowess comes with interest from South African clubs that are always quick to snatch emerging talent from Zimbabwe.
And in August, at the guidance of his handlers, off he went to join the lucrative Mzansi’s Absa Premiership signing for Maritzburg United who also provide a home to ex-Highlanders and CAPS United speedy forward Gabriel Nyoni.
Augusto made his debut for Maritzburg United on 28 August on a 1-0 losing note against Black Leopards in a match he played the entire 90 minutes. His second club game was against Mamelodi Sundowns on 21 September a day in which he played 45 minutes in a game they lost 2-1.
Augusto’s individual club statistics further indicate that from then he has been a regular feature on the bench and he has sometimes failed to make it to the substitutes’ bench.
The Warriors striker was last on his club’s reserves bench on 8 November when Maritzburg United took on Bloemfontein Celtics.
Augusto, who is yet to find the back of the net in Super Diski, was also an unused substitute on 5 November when they drew nil all against Orlando Pirates.
“For me, it was a sudden change of playing environment after having managed to get used to playing combinations at Chicken Inn. I have been at Maritzburg United for over three months and I do not doubt my scoring abilities. Playing in a foreign league has been a challenge but all hope is not lost in me. I still need more game time,” said Augusto.
Chicken Inn gaffer Joey Antipas told this publication that they were previously not prepared to release the player saying teams that were interested in Augusto’s services were supposed to chase his signature next season.
Asked why they decided to release him in the middle of their league campaign, the coach indicated that there were a number of individuals involved in the player’s move and the striker had become uncomfortable at the Gamecocks so it was best to let him leave.
“When there is a lot of people involved in it and the player is a bit unsettled it’s better for him to move on because he won’t give you 100 percent. One thing I won’t stop a player from moving, it’s good for a player to go and better himself and better his life for his family,” said Antipas.
However, with three games before the end of local premiership season, the former Ngezi and Chicken Inn striker’s closest rivals for the 2019 Golden Boot Award are Dynamos striker Evans Katema and CAPS United midfield maestro Joel Ngodzo.
Katema is on 12 goals and Ngodzo has 10 strikes under his belt. This will reportedly be the ninth year since a player scored less than 20 goals in the local league.
In the last two seasons CAPS United’s Dominic Chungwa and reigning soccer star of the year Rodwell Chinyengetere scored 17, in 2017 and 2018 respectively.