CAPS United coach Mark Harrison’s wife has suffered depression after they were given a notice of eviction from their Borrowdale apartment by their landlord over outstanding two months’ rental fees as deepening cashflow problems threaten to plunge the Harare football giants into an irretrievable nosedive.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Harrison had been scheduled to attend a meeting with the Caps management, but failed to do so as he was attending to his wife yesterday.
“I was supposed to attend the meeting, but I couldn’t because I was attending to my wife. She is down with depression because of what we are going through. I don’t know what transpired at that meeting and will try to meet with the Caps management,” Harrison said.
“I have been threatened with eviction tomorrow (today) if nothing is paid. It’s a very difficult situation. I don’t know my next move. I am hoping to meet the team management over the issue. I am two months behind in payment of rentals,” he said.
An informed source, however, said the meeting chaired by chief executive Joe Makuvire was tense and almost degenerated into a fistfight as some staff members demanded to be paid their outstanding salaries and allowances.
Club president Twine Phiri did not attend the stormy meeting and was not reachable for comment.
“It was a very tense meeting. The coach was also supposed to attend the meeting, but his wife is down with depression. People almost came to blows as they demanded their salaries, but they were told in no uncertain terms that whoever was not happy was free to leave the club. Twine Phiri didn’t attend the meeting. If he had, I think people were going to be fired,” a source who requested anonymity said.
Makuvire said he was not at liberty to comment on the coach’s eviction notice.
The Englishman also declined to disclose the amount he owes the landlord saying it was “confidential”.
Besides rent arrears, players and members of the technical team are owed salaries and allowances.
On Sunday, several senior players — Hardlife Zvirekwi, George Nyirenda, Dominic Mukandi, Gerald Phiri and Steven Makatuka — are reported to have initially refused to travel to Mutare, but later arrived late for their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match against Buffaloes which ended in a 0-0 stalemate at Sakubva.
It was their second successive goalless draw having also shared the spoils with Hwange last Thursday and despite a good midweek crowd, it is understood the players were only paid $30 each.
The team did not train in the build-up to the Sakubva match, with Harrison only meeting the players in Mutare on match day.
The drawn match against Buffaloes left them in eighth position on the league table with 13 points from nine games.
But it is the failure by the club to pay rent for the coach which could end Harrison’s marriage with the Harare giants, having joined in January this year from South Africa where he was coaching National First Division side Black Leopards.
This is not the first time Caps United have faced a situation like this.
In 2012, Northern Irish coach Sean Connor was evicted from his apartment in Harare after the club management failed to pay his rentals.
Then Caps still had Harare businessman Farai Jere as a benefactor, but he has stayed away from the club in the last two seasons as they lurched from crisis to crisis.
Former board members Lewis Uriri and Nhamo Tutisani are also demanding $143 000 in money advanced to the club and have filed papers for the club to be liquidated if the debt is not repaid by Monday. Jere is reportedly owed $2 million.
The date has elapsed and an application is now expected to be filed for the provisional liquidation of the club.
Caps last enjoyed sponsorship from a local mobile firm and later a tobacco manufacturing concern.
But since then, they have found no sponsors and spent the whole of the 2014 season struggling to pay their players.
At the start of the year, a sponsorship deal was announced with a South African company Zing, but that later turned out to be a bid to take over the club.
But the latest developments paint a grim reminder of the hard times that Phiri, who is also the chairman of the Premier Soccer League board of governors, Caps fans and sympathisers have fallen on as the economic situation continues to deteriorate with no solution from the political leadership of the nation.
On the PSL stable, newly-promoted Dongo Sawmill have already put their franchise up for sale. (See story on Page 31).