MIDLANDS-BASED Premier Soccer League (PSL) outfit Chapungu will next week finalise their squad for the upcoming season, with six new players expected to be added to the team.
Coach John Nyikadzino yesterday told NewsDay Sport that they have so far completed the signing of goalkeeper Talbert Mthombeni on a permanent deal.
Mthombeni arrived from FC Platinum where he was released after the expiry of his contract at the end of 2015.
Nyikadzino said his team is still negotiating with five more players and negotiations are expected to be completed this weekend.
“Mthombeni has already signed and is part of the squad who has started pre-season training. The management is currently negotiating with five more players which we think can add some value to our team,” said Nyikadzino.
“From the team’s performance last season we realised that there are some areas that needs to be strengthened hence we are getting the new players. I understand negotiations are going on well and could be through by the end of day tomorrow (today) and we should be in a position to announce their names thereafter.
“All the six have PSL experience and like I said I expect them to add some value ion to the team. We expect to have the new players next week so that we can finalise our squad for next season. With those new additions there will obviously be some who will be offloaded. We want to finalise our squad as soon as possible so that we can work with a pool of players that we intent to use next season,” added Nyikadzino.
One slot has already been created in the squad after veteran striker Phillip Marufu was promoted to be the team’s second assistant coach.
Clemence Mugari is the first assistant coach.
Chapungu started their preseason training on January 5 and have targeted a top eight finish this season.
The army side survived relegation by a whisker last season on their return to top flight football, escaping the chop because of a superior goal difference.
The team had some memorable moments at their Ascot base last year, recording one defeat throughout the campaign and managing to beat the top three finishers.
“Our target last season was to survive relegation and I am very happy that we managed to do that. It was a learning curve for us and obviously our objective this year has changed . . . we are aiming for a top eight finish and it’s very much possible. We cannot rush to talk about fighting for the league title or the top four at this moment. The league title is the ultimate goal for us but we have to go through the stages,” said Nyikadzino.
Chapungu managed to beat Dynamos 1-0 before humiliating ZPC Kariba and Caps United by a similar 3-0 scoreline.
“Those victories in particular will remain in the minds of the locals for a very long time. We are hoping for the same next season, have an unbeaten run at home. Last season we lost once at Ascot to Bantu Rivers, and I’m glad that team was relegated,” said Nyikadzino.