AFTER a long break from football, Castle Premiership sides are back in action today as they prepare for what promises to be a gruelling 2013 season.
REPORT BY FORTUNE MBELE SPORTS REPORTER
Last year’s runners-up, Highlanders, who were expecting their Zambian coach Kelvin Kaindu, said it would be back to work today.
Highlanders chairman Peter Dube said the club was going to set a date for the executive committee to map the way forward and would be reviewing the contracts of the rest of the technical team members whose contracts expired on December 31 last year.
Chicken Inn, who came on position three last season under the tutelage of the late Adam “Adamski” Ndlovu, also meet today to chart the way forward after appointing Mandla Mpofu to guide the team this year. Club secretary Tavengwa Hara yesterday confirmed the Chicken Inn family meeting was on today.
“We are meeting tomorrow (today) as the executive and the whole technical team to chart the way forward for the 2013 season. We will not be holding any trials for the season, but any player who wants to come and try their luck is free to join us. We are not releasing any players this season, but like any other team during the start of the season we will be running around to see who we can get. That is part of what will be discussed at the meeting,” Hara said.
Hara’s statement throws into doubt reports that midfielder Sidney Linyama is on his way to champions Dynamos.
Chicken Inn are also continuing to negotiate for Footballer of the Year finalist Kudakwashe Mahachi, whose loan from Bantu Rovers expired on December 31.
Hwange Football Club, who narrowly survived relegation last season, start their preparations with medicals for the players tomorrow before holding trials for local players.
Club secretary Burzil Dube yesterday said coaches Nation Dube and Mebelo Njekwa had identified quite a number of players from Matabeleland North and they would be undergoing trials from Wednesday.
“We are having medicals on Tuesday (tomorrow) and then we go physical on Wednesday. We will hold trials for players from the local league. The coaches last year identified players from Hwange Juniors, ZPC Hwange and as far as Binga, and those are the players that we will be looking at. We are not targeting any players from outside,” Burzil said.
Hwange start the season with Nation as head coach after he took over from Tennant Chilumba, who has since crossed the floor to FC Platinum.
On striker Francisco Zvikumbawire, Burzil said negotiations were still going on with Dynamos, while Zambian international Aaron Katebe was expected to join Chipangano this week.
FC Platinum, who have roped in Chilumba as head coach, will start preparations on January 20.
Tendai Chikuni, who will be assisting Chilumba, said: “We will be going for our pre-season training beginning on January 20. We will be adding one or two players into our camp. We don’t have names for now, but there are new players that we will be assessing.”
Platinum are likely to retain Zephaniah and Joel Ngodzo, Thabani Kamusoko, Charles Sibanda, Donald Ngoma, Qadr Amin, Mitchelle Katsvairo, Allan Gahadzikwa, Daniel Vheremu, Norman Togara, Welcome Ndiweni, Tafadzwa Dube and Player of the Year Ali Sadiki.
New Premiership outfit Tripple B from the Central Region are also starting their preparations for the season today.
Coach Friday Phiri yesterday said he was expecting new players to join camp, but could not shed light on names as the club was still finalising on negotiations.
“We are starting tomorrow (today) with the physical aspect of the game. We are retaining all our current players, those that brought us into the Premiership, but we are also expecting new players to beef up the squad. We are still finalising on negotiations,” Phiri said.
How Mine, who are also in their maiden season, start preparations after their annual general meeting that will be held next Wednesday.