By Peter Kanjere
Japan’s second-hand automobile dealers, Be Forward Limited’s sponsorship of Malawi Super League kings, Be Forward Wanderers, has opened a big window of opportunity for dynamic but underrated forward, Jabulani Linje.
Linje could become the first Malawian to sign for a Japanese football team after being offered a two-year loan contract by Third Division (J-3 League) side, Yokohama Sports and Culture Club (YSCC), following trials he had with them last December.
Wanderers and Yokohama have, in a joint statement released yesterday, confirmed agreeing on the transfer of the 23-year-old versatile attacker, whose move is subject to a medical.
“Be Forward has so far invited four players [including Joseph Kamwendo and Peter Wadabwa] from Wanderers FC to Japan, where the players took part in tryouts and practices with a prospect of transferring to J-League teams.
“Two players joined a selection session held by YSCC Yokohama last December, whereby Jabulani Linje successfully got the two-year contract, starting from the 2018 season. Once he passes medical checks upon his arrival in Japan, Linje will become an official member of YSCC Yokohama,” the statement reads in part.
Wanderers General Secretary, Mike Butao, yesterday in an interview said Linje’s imminent transfer has vindicated them.
“He signed a new contract with us, running up to 2010. There is no transfer fee involved. He is going there on loan because we believe that within a few months [of playing for YSCC], he will be spotted by a J-League team [and Wanderers stand to earn more from a big money transfer].
“What has come through is for Jabu [and nothing yet for Msosa]. People said a lot of things about the players trials in Japan but those who understand football know that when a player goes for trials, he doesn’t train with main team but reserves. It is upon recommendations of coaches that a player moves to a main team. When we sent the players to Japan people ridiculed us but we knew what we were doing,” Butao said.
Yokohama have also confirmed on www.yscc1986.net the imminent transfer of the 23-year-old.
Linje, whose Visa is out and is just waiting for an international clearance, boasts terrific movements, first-touch, dribbling and passing but his physique, final touch and finishing is suspect.
The former Civil Sporting Club player, whose inclusion in Malawi national football team often raises questions owing to his peripheral role at Wanderers, has since said he is deligted with his imminent transfer.
“It is a great honor to become the first Malawian to play in a J-League club. I will do my very best to help YSCC win a place in J-2 and become a player who can inspire the dreams of children in Malawi,” Linje said in the statement.
Kamwendo and Wadabwa also attended trials with some Japanese teams but came back amid controversy, claiming that the trip was ill-timed as most teams were on off-season break
Japan national football team is ranked 56compared to 124 for Malawi on the latest Fifa/Coca-Cola World Rankings. Japan and indeed, Asia are considered the future of football, with big name players and coaches heading there to work in view of massive injection of money into the game.
Year of birth: November 7 1994
Weight: 66 kgs
HIS TRANSFER IS SUBJECT TO A MEDICAL—Linje—Picture courtesy of Wanderers FC