CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League champions, Caps United face an uphill task to retain some of their star players, whose contracts run out at the end of the month and are considering other options.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Several players in the Green Machine camp have contracts that expire at the end of this month.
While club president, Farai Jere said that they will need just a couple of new faces to bolster their squad for the 2017 Caf Champions League, some of the players, who starred in the championship-winning feat, have cast doubts over their future at Caps.
Soccer Star of the Year finalist, Ronald Pfumbidzai, attackers, Tafadzwa Rusike and Abbas Amidu, as well as the central defence pair of Steven Makatuka and Dennis Dauda will be free agents come December 31.
Pfumbidzai is believed to be a subject of interest of foreign clubs following a stellar season, which saw the Caps United fullback helping his side to the championship success for the first time in 11 years, contributing 19 assists towards the 42 goals scored by Caps United.
Pfumbidzai’s lethal left foot was a vital cog in the Green Machine, as they put together 18 wins and nine draws from 30 matches, which delivered the biggest prize in the country.
He had an unsuccessful spell in Denmark and decided to return and rejoin Caps United, but will be looking at seeking greener pastures.
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Rusike and Amidu might also have played their last season with the Green Machine, as their current contracts expire on December 31.
Rusike has been one of the heroes of Caps United’s conquering squad and reports suggest that he has also caught the eye of some scouts and could be on his way out.
Contacted for comment, Rusike would not guarantee his stay at Caps United.
“It’s premature for me to say much at this stage. I can’t say whether I will be still at Caps United next season or not. But it’s true my contract is coming to an end this month. I am still weighing up options available for me.” said Rusike, who also had a stint in South Africa and Angola
Amidu attracted interest from cash-rich Tanzanian outfit Azam, where he had a successful trial stint only for the two parties to fail to agree terms.
Vice-captain Makatuka and Dauda might be considering moving to face new challenges.
South African Division One side AmaZulu coach, Joey Antipas is an admirer of Makatuka and is believed to be interested in snatching the player away from Caps.
Caps United, who walked away $100 000 richer in prize money from Delta Beverages, who sponsor the league through their Castle Lager brand, are battling to tie down the players to new contracts.
Coach, Lloyd Chitembwe, however, remains optimistic the club would retain most of the heroes of the just-ended campaign, as he seeks to mount a serious challenge in his first attempt in the African safari.
“For the time being, we are not talking about those issues. We have taken a break and are enjoying our success as a team. They are Caps United players for now unless we get a signal that they have offers elsewhere,” he said.
For winning the championship, the Caps United players were given $50 000 to share by the club with the other $50 000 set aside for signing-on fees.
Caps have until December 31 to finalise their Caf Champions League squad.