Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
PRINCE DUBE’S profile is soaring rapidly, across the continent, and Moroccan champions, Raja Casablanca, have become the latest giants to target him with a US$1 million offer to secure his signature.
The 23-year-old Zimbabwe international forward has transformed himself into one of the hottest properties, in African football, with a flying start to life at Tanzanian side Azam FC.
Dube has scored 20 goals, in his last 21 competitive games, for club and country, making him, on current form, one of the game’s deadliest forwards on the continent.
In his first three weeks in the Tanzanian top-flight league, he has already scooped the Vodacom Premier League Best Player of the Month award, after scoring three goals in his first four games.
This means that, in his last two months of competitive football, he has picked two important individual awards — finishing third in the Soccer Star of the Year race here and winning the Player of the Month gong in Tanzania.
He was the stand-out player, on the domestic scene, in the second half of last season, scoring 12 goals, in as many matches, and scoring four goals, as he powered Highlanders to the Chibuku Super Cup.
Dube also scored four goals for the Warriors, including a hat-trick in the qualifier against Mauritius, to help them qualify for the African Nations Championship finals.
He has already scored four goals, in five competitive matches, for Azam and the early signs are that the Tanzanian club could have struck a jackpot when they managed to entice the Zimbabwean to join their ranks.
His form has attracted the interest of some of the continent’s heavyweight clubs, including Raja Casablanca, who are now prepared to splash the cash, and take the Pretty Prince, to Morocco.
That will probably give him the perfect stage he needs, to attract the interests of clubs from Europe, where he says he wants to end up playing his football.
It’s been a stunning turnaround for the Zimbabwe international forward, whose never-say-die spirit has seen him rise from the ashes of being dumped by South African Premiership side, SuperSport United, to now getting the interest of clubs like Raja Casablanca.
The Moroccan side are one of Africa’s most glamourous, and powerful clubs, and have a CAF Champions League semi-final, first leg showdown, against Egyptian powerhouse, Zamalek, in Casablanca on Sunday.
Record African champions, Al Ahly, will get the semi-finals rolling, with an away tie against Wydad Casablanca on Saturday, before the Egyptian giants host their Moroccan rivals, in the second leg fixtures, next week.
Raja want to boost their fire-power, despite winning the Moroccan championship for the first time, in seven years, after defeating their rivals in a riveting race that went all the way to the final game of the season.
Raja edged Difaâ Hassani El Jadidi Club 2-1, in their final match of the campaign, while Wydad matched their winning score, in their match against FUS Rabat.
However, Raja knew all they needed was to win their final game, irrespective of what happened elsewhere, as they held a one-point advantage, over the chasing pack, in the race.
They duly secured their 12th title by winning 17 matches, drawing nine and losing four.
The success story was written on the foundation of the league’s toughest defence, during the campaign, as Raja — just like RS Berkane — conceded 23 goals, with their strong defence keeping a clean sheet in 13 matches.
Raja scored 43 goals but that was nine goals fewer than what Wydad scored, during the campaign, and this could be one of the reasons the club’s bosses believe they need Dube to add to their fire-power.
Moroccan international forward, Soufiane Rahimi, was the best of the Raja forwards but, with just 10 goals to his credit during the entire campaign, the club bosses believe they need more fire-power.
While the money being offered by the Moroccans is good, and could eclipse the US$811 350 which Mamelodi Sundowns paid Ajax Cape Town to get Khama Billiat seven years ago, Azam are not in the mood to lose someone, they now view as crucial, to their bid for the championship.
“Yes, there is interest from Raja Casablanca and some crazy figures are being talked about but it’s unlikely to happen because Azam would rather have Prince completing this season playing for them,’’ sources told The Herald.
“A million United States dollars is good money, anywhere in the world, but Azam are not desperate for money right now and, given a choice between winning the league, and getting a million dollars, the club’s owners will go for the league.
“That is where things get complicated for this deal to go through, right now, because the Tanzanian club want their player to, at least, complete the season in their team.
“The good thing is that Prince is making a case for himself, which every footballer should do, and it’s not easy for strikers, because they are always judged by the number of goals they score and they are as good as their last goal.
“If he keeps scoring the goals, which he is capable of doing right now because he has always been a very good player, then other offers — maybe even from Europe — are likely to come for him.
“He is young, which is important, he has pace, which is what every good forward requires, and he has that arrogance, in front of goal, he makes it all look easy.
“In short, he is a good boy and he is always working hard, fighting to improve himself, and he knows he is a key footballer, for both his club and his country, because he represents the next generation of players who will be in the Warriors for some time.’’