Joseph Ngwenya returns to the team he helped lead to the 2007 MLS Cup title.
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Ngwenya signing held up by ITC issue

The Houston Dynamo’s signing of Joseph Ngwenya has officially hit a snag.

The club confirmed Tuesday that its request for Ngwenya’s International Transfer Certificate from Turkish club Antalyasapor and the Turkish soccer federation has been rejected, as a result of a dispute between Analyasapor and Ngwenya. 

“His former club in Turkey has rejected the ITC request at this time,” Dynamo chief operating officer Chris Canetti said.  “It’s fair to say there is a dispute between the club and Joe from their past relationship.”

In the past, MLS has refused to allow its teams to risk using players who don’t have their ITC. If FIFA were to later rule against the league regarding the ITC and that player made an appearance, FIFA could potentially issue fines against the league or team. 

As a result, Ngwenya will not be allowed to play until the issue is resolved.

“He absolutely won’t take the field as a member of the Houston Dynamo or any other MLS team without an ITC,” Canetti said. “The ITC needs to be issued. Given the fact the club won’t issue it, our hope is that FIFA will issue it after they review the circumstances. We believe Joe has the right to continue his career and play for the Dynamo, and that his ITC should be granted, and we just have to wait for FIFA’s ruling.”

Houston is not in unfamiliar territory. A different snag occurred with defender Andrew Hainault last year, when Hainault believed he was out of contract with Czech side SIAD Most and signed with the league prior to the start of the 2009 season.

When the team and league requested his ITC, SIAD Most believed they still had a valid contract with Hainault.  MLS appealed to FIFA for a decision, but in the interim an agreement was reached with SIAD Most that allowed Hainault and the Dynamo to formally complete the transfer. 

It took more than a month, however, before the matter was finally resolved.

“We have gone through the appropriate channels with the league, US Soccer Federation, and FIFA to dispute the situation,” Canetti said.  “We are going to look to them to provide a quick and reasonable resolution that will hopefully end up in our and Joe’s favor.”

Dwain Capodice is a contributor to Questions or Comments can be sent via email to