NEW Caps United owner Farai Jere has heaped praise on Twine Phiri after the duo sealed a deal for the takeover of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League side by the Harare businessman.
BY WELLINGTON TONI
Jere, who has been with Caps for a long time, but as a minority shareholder, now owns 80% of the club after converting his $1,4 million debt into equity while Phiri remained with 20%. Previously, Jere owned 25%.
Speaking to NewsDay Sport yesterday, Jere said the immediate challenge for the Green Machine was to fight for honours.
“We always had a vision with my partner. Unfortunately, the economic challenges were affecting everybody, but we still believe that Caps United should list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange as a long-term plan and that plan still exists.
“The structures are in place at Caps and I am grateful that my partner put things in a proper manner, obviously with the aim of taking the brand forward.”
He added: “The immediate thing is to start to get results. Our opponents were not happy with what was happening at Caps United. We gave people a lot of hope before the start of the season, but then things went bad.
“People want to see Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United fighting for honours and that gives the league competition. So our mandate is to turn around the fortunes of the club immediately and this will be very easy because Phiri had put all the structures in place.”
Caps failed to fulfil a match against How Mine in Bulawayo last month and were fined $1 250 and lost the game on a 3-0 scoreline.
Coach Mark Harrison was also facing eviction from his place in Borrowdale due to lack of money to pay his rent while Rodreck Mutuma walked out of the team. A sponsorship deal with a South African company Zing suffered a still birth.
Caps United arrived late for a match against Buffaloes in Mutare two weeks ago, but still managed a 0-0 draw and this weekend they beat Dongo Sawmill 2-0 in Rusape.
From 11 matches, Caps have won four times, drawn four and lost three times to sit in position eight with 16 points, seven off leaders Chicken Inn and, according to Jere, this gives the club enough ammunition to challenge for honours.
“Phiri has brought in a very good coach and some youngsters who have a very bright future. All that is needed is a little confidence booster and stability. It is a well assembled team and I want to give all the praises to my partner Phiri because he did a very good job,” Jere said.
“You can also tell by our position on the log that we are not far off from the leaders (Chicken Inn), just seven points and we are not even halfway through the league and we can challenge for honours.”
He added: “So don’t be surprised when there are no changes at the club because the structures are there. We need to retain the board, add one or two people, have a representative from former players and the current players and then technocrats to run the team while we (Jere and Phiri) remain on the periphery, giving direction as shareholders.
“Football has changed, we don’t want to be on the back pages of newspapers every day. It’s the players and the coaching staff that are supposed to be there, not us.”
The High Court application to dissolve the club by board members Lewis Uriri and Nhamo Tutisani over a $142 000 debt will be withdrawn and the issue settled internally.
“This had brought in a bit of some pressure on the team, but at the end of the day, the biggest creditor was still going to get the club so we had to talk with Phiri to resolve this issue. He agreed, I got 80% and he remained with 20%,” Jere added.
Caps’ next match is against Tsholotsho at White City Stadium on Saturday.