Caps United and Warriors defender Gilbert Mapemba has joined South African Premiership football club Moroka Swallows on a three-year deal, the club announced yesterday.
He becomes the second former Caps United player to feature for Gordon Igesund’s team after midfielder Oscar Machapa.
Swallows is the former home of Warriors players winger Edzai Kasinauyo, striker Adam Ndlovu and defender Bekithemba Ndlovu. Kasinauyo had facilitated Mapemba’s trip together Highlanders defender Gilbert Banda to Platinum Stars.
Banda missed out after Platinum coach Owen da Gama said his height was a problem while he dillydallied over signing Mapemba before Swallows snapped him up.
Mapemba turned 26 yesterday and has really proven to be a successful football player in the domestic game having won three cups with Caps since he joined the club in 2008, and also collecting a gold medal when the Warriors won the Cosafa tournament in 2009.
“We are delighted to announce that the club has agreed terms with Caps United in Zimbabwe for the purchase of Zim international right-back, Gilbert Mapemba.
He is a versatile football player who is a very talented overlapping fullback and his skills will assist the Dube Birds to play out from the back.
“The club is delighted to have another top quality player joining the squad, we wish him a warm welcome to the Nest,” the club said.
Caps United chief executive Maxwell Mironga confirmed the move yesterday saying the defender was already out of contract.
Mapemba becomes the seventh player to leave Caps United in the last year after the trio of Nyasha Mushekwi, Method Mwanjali and Lionel Mtizwa joined Mamelodi Sundowns while Tafadzwa Rusike joined Ajax Cape Town together with Khama Billiat.
Striker Simba Sithole, who had already scored 10 goals in 10 matches in the 2011 season, also departed for Sundowns last month.
These players have not been replaced and this explains the predicament that Caps United find themselves in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, having parted ways with Moses Chunga, and not won a match in the last three games, leaving the new coach Maxwell Takaendesa Jongwe in serious trouble.
This Sunday, Caps United face Monomotapa aware that defeat will send Jongwe home. While fans were able to stomach the loss to Dynamos and there was no riotous behaviour, it remains to be seen if they will be as patient on Sunday.
Jongwe is already under fire for removing David Rediyoni in the loss to Dynamos when he seemed to be the only player capable for saving the Green Machine on the day.
And with Stephen Alimenda failing to show the same form that made him a household name at Mwana Africa and Highlanders, things can only get worse.
Alimenda was made successful at Highlanders because had a player like Erick Mudzingwa operating alongside him — a type of player that Caps lack today. Fine Marvel Samaneka could be in the team, he has the runs, but no final pass and no killer instinct.
Caps need to buy someone like Donald Ngoma, whom FC Platinum can never release now because he is a bright prospect.
His job is to keep the defenders on their toes, keep the keeper guessing and eventually get the ball into the nets.
But if striker Evans Gwekwerere can afford a Mario Balotelli in front of goal and squander two gilt-edged chances, then Jongwe will know on Sunday afternoon that the players would have sent him home.