Caps battle to balance books

CAPS United Football club appear to have opened an export avenue for their players to help balance their books and sustain the day-to-day operations of the club which is facing a serious cash squeeze.

BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA

The Harare giants recently appointed Englishman Mark Harrison as the club’s football manager, quite a bold decision given the economic hardships faced by most Zimbabwean clubs.

But the move to hire Harrison is slowly turning out to be the best prescription to try and turn around the fortunes of the financially- struggling club.

The Briton has strong links with several European clubs particularly those in England where he grew up and started his football career- playing for Stoke City and Southampton, among other teams.
He also has links with South African clubs where he has been coaching for a couple of years before terminating his contract with Black Leopards to take up the demanding Caps United job early last month.

It appears Caps United want to use the Briton’s influence in both South Africa and European shores to unlock avenues for their players.
Already, Ronald Pfumbidzai — the club’s most prized asset —had trials with Kaizer Chiefs last week, albeit unsuccessfully, and NewsDaySport has established that the stint was instigated by Harrison.

Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung exclusively told NewsDaySport yesterday that it was Harrison who recommended Pfumbidzai’s 10-day trial stint.

Motaung, however, said they were currently not looking for any player in that position at the moment.

“The player, Ronald Pfumbidzai, has been on trials with us, but there was nothing that came out of it because we are not looking for a player in that position at the moment. He was just recommended to us by Mark Harrison who is now coaching in Zimbabwe. I don’t have a report from the technical team on their assessment of the player. I will have to ask the coach first,” said Motaung.

Pfumbidzai flew back into the country on Tuesday empty-handed with other reports coming from across the Limpopo River suggesting the 20-year-old former Young Warriors captain could be taken on board in the future.

The South African transfer window closed last Friday.

With corporate sponsorship hard to come by, Caps United endured tough times in the last couple of years, surviving on a shoestring budget season after season.

While the Harare giants have enjoyed a transfer feast before when they sold stars such as former Warriors captain Method Mwanjali, Nyasha Mushekwi, Tafadzwa Rusike, Lionel Mutizwa, Oscar Machapa and Gilbert Mapemba, but that export policy has been met with strong condemnation from a section of the team’s supporters.

Since then, Caps have not exported a single player abroad, which could have been the main cause of their current financial famine. And it seems they are reverting to their old strategy, which Harrison has been chosen to spearhead.

Reports suggest that unsettled striker Dominic Chungwa, who had set his sights on joining bitter rivals Dynamos, is also linked with a move to a South African club.

Star player Hardlife Zvirekwi — one of the heroes of the Chan campaign under the guidance of Ian Gorowa who guided the Warriors to the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time —could also be sold to a foreign club in the next transfer window.

Harrison is, however, still holed up in South Africa as he processes his relocation to Harare. He was initially expected in the country on Tuesday, but the Caps United hierarchy is now not sure when their coach will be back to start duty for the new campaign.

The 54-year-old is also still to be issued a work permit according to the Department of Immigration.

Caps United assistant coaches Brenna Msiska and Fungai “Tostao” Kwashi are taking charge in his absence and have been conducting trials with a number of players whom they hope to hand contracts before the start of new campaign.

Makepekepe have so far lost at least six players, who include Kelvin Bulaji (Dynamos), Tapuwa Khumbuyani (How Mine), Tendai Samanja and Tafadzwa Dube (Harare City). Honey Chimutimunzeve and Nicholas Alifandika did not renew their loan deals with the club and followed their former coach Taurai Mangwiro to Harare City.

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