Zimbabwe youth international Munashe Garan’anga has become the first local player to make a big move during the current transfer window in Europe after completing a move to Moldovan Super Liga outfit Sheriff Tiraspol from Belarusian side Dynamo Brest on Friday.
The 21-year-old central defender, who is a product of the Cape Town-based Ubuntu FC Academy, made his big break to Europe in February last year when he joined Belarusian Premier League side Dynamo Brest on a two-year deal.
After a successful stint in which he made 28 appearances and scored two goals, Garan’anga has now made another step in his career by moving to Sheriff Tiraspol.
The Moldavan club which has consistently featured in Europe’s premier club competitions in recent seasons confirmed the signing of Garanganga in a statement on Friday.
The Zimbabwean reportedly impressed during a trial stint at the Moldovan club.
“Zimbabwean defender Munashe Garan’anga is the first addition to the squad this offseason. The parties signed all necessary documents today, and Munashe became a full member of the large and friendly FC Sheriff family,” the club said.
“Munashe is only 21 years old, he was born in Harare on January 18, 2001. Last year he moved from Cape Town Ubuntu club to the Belarusian Dynamo Brest, where he played 28 matches, scoring twice. He was involved in the youth teams of his country, where he managed to play in three duels. FC Sheriff staff is pleased to welcome Munashe and wishes him success in our club’s yellow and black shirt.”
Garan’anga who was part of the Zimbabwe Under-23 side which played in the qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2019, becomes the second local player to feature for the Moldovan side after Alec Mudimu.
The former Prince Edward School pupil could make his official debut for the club on February 16 when they face Serbian giants Partizan Belgrade in the Europa Conference League round of 16 play-offs.
Garan’anga will be eager to make his mark at, who Sheriff have won 20 of the past 22 Moldovan Super Liga titles, including the last seven, and were crowned champions last season.
Sheriff’s total dominance has means they are almost been guaranteed to have a shot at qualifying for European football every season for the last 20 years.
In their first eight years of trying, Sheriff failed to get past the second qualifying round but then made a breakthrough, appearing in the Europa League group stages for three years in a row.
Last season, they finally made it to the Uefa Champions League group stage and became the first-ever Moldovan team to achieve that feat.
They then amazingly beat Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in September 2021 to pull off one of the greatest underdog stories.
Despite eventually not making it through the group, they dropped down the knockout rounds of the Europa League, becoming the first Moldovan team to play in the European knockout stages in the process.
Sheriff Tiraspol finished third in their group which included English giants Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Cypriot side Omonia to drop to the Europa Conference League.