FROM the comfort of his home in Fourways, Johannesburg, South Africa, Edelbert Dinha wonders what has really gone wrong with his first love — Caps United.
BY WELLINGTON TONI
Lurching from crisis to crisis, the former Premier Soccer League champions endured their worst year in 2014 — a season in which, if financial resources had been available, they could easily have won the league title.
But, alas, it was not to be.
And when 2015 came, a South African company came aboard as sponsors, but the romance lasted barely a month before they “zinged” off.
Then they failed to fulfil a league match against How Mine in Bulawayo after the players boycotted, despite having made the 438km journey — due to unpaid salaries and winning bonuses.
A week later, former board members Lewis Uriri and Nhamo Tutisani laid siege on the team and lodged papers with the High Court for the liquidation of the club if it failed to pay about
$143 000 owed to them in monies advanced to the club when they were still in office.
Further, the club is said to owe Harare businessman and club shareholder Farai Jere $1,4 million (minus interest). Jere has simply abandoned the club, choosing to concentrate on his businesses and furthering his education.
On Sunday, they were walloped 4-0 by Triangle in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match which coach Mark Harrison described as a disaster.
In an exclusive interview with NewsDay Sport, Dinha, who had a stellar career with Orlando Pirates and the Warriors, said Caps had an obligation to their biggest asset — the players.
And he still follows the three teams and believes the Zimbabwe government should do more for football.
“Yes, I still follow them because I still want to know what’s happening. It’s so sad and hurting for a big club like Caps United failing to pay players and failing to fulfil a game. It’s a club that shouldn’t be going through something like that.
“Yes, we all know that players need to be paid because it’s their work. They have responsibilities to look after so I think the government should really come through because our football is dying,” Dinha said.
National association Zifa is struggling with finances, weighed down by a $6 million debt and the government has not been able to assist any national team.
Recently, the senior women’s national team, the Mighty Warriors, had to get air tickets from a local mining company to travel to Ghana for an All-Africa Games qualifier with the government mum. For the return leg, they had to get foodstuffs and T-shirts from a local auctioneer, LM Auctioneers, to aid their preparations.
The Under-23 side travelled to Cameroon last Friday with no funding from the government, but are still expected to produce results.
Dinha believes that we have talented players, who can play anywhere in the world: “We have the most talented players in Africa who can play anywhere in the world. And, yes, we are trying to move them into better leagues so that they put Zimbabwe on the map. We really need the government to help us.”
The Warriors have been drawn against Malawi, Swaziland and Guinea in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers and start the campaign against the Flames on June 12.
“With the talented players we have we should be in each and every Afcon,” he added.
Turning to Zimbabwean players in the Absa Premiership — Kuda Mahachi, Khama Billiat, Tendai Ndoro, Khumbulani Banda, Cuthbert Malajila, Willard Katsande, Denver Mukamba and Mathew Rusike — Dinha said they were doing very well.
“All these guys you mentioned are doing very well at their clubs. They are representing Zimbabwe and I’m very proud of them.”
Dinha played for Caps in two spells, first between 1993 and 1994 and later from 1996 to 1998.
Between then, he played for Petrolofisi in Turkey, Sokol Pniewy and Sokol Tychy in Poland. In 1998, he joined Seven Stars in South Africa and played for a season before spending the next three at Ajax Cape Town.
It was there that he impressed and earned a big money move to one of the most successful clubs in Southern Africa, Orlando Pirates, where he spent a good five years before moving to FC AK and then winding up his career at Mpumalanga Black Aces in 2008.
Since then, he has been involved with his academy, Shumba Sports Management. He was a member of the Zimbabwean 2006 Afcon team, who finished bottom of their group in the first round of competition in their debut.
Dinha in 20 seconds
Occupation: Runs Shumba Football Development and manages players
Home: Fourways, Johannesburg, South Africa
Marital status: I’m not married
Best Food: Still sadza and beef mixed with vegetables
Favourite drink: Fanta Orange
Best movie: Scarface
Favourite teams: In South Africa I don’t have a team that I support, in the United Kingdom it’s Arsenal, in Germany it’s Bayern Munich and in Spain it’s Real Madrid.