LEAGUE champions Caps United have signed Ronald Chitiyo, in one of the major deals of the transfer window for the Harare giants, who immediately registered the midfielder in their squad for the Confederations of African Football (Caf) Champions League.
BY HENRY MHARA
The former Dynamos star was out of contract after his deal with Harare City ran out on Saturday, and Caps United, who are beefing up their squad for the African Safari, moved quickly to snap up the highly-rated player.
Caps United chief executive officer Cuthbert Chitima yesterday confirmed they had captured Chitiyo on a two-year contract.
The player has been included in the club’s 25-men squad submitted to Caf for the Champions League.
Chitiyo is one of the only three additions to the squad, as Green Machine coach Lloyd Chitembwe decided against tinkering much with the squad that gave him the league title.
Other inclusions are goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba, who signed from Gunners on a three-year contract, as well as Last Sithole, snapped up from FC Platinum, also on a three-year deal.
The champions have also managed to keep defender Stephen Makatuka who was reportedly wanted by South African Division One side Amazulu.
“We have made just three additions to the team. We believe we have a very good squad which can deliver,” said Chitima.
“The good thing is we managed to keep the bulk of the team from last season so there was no need to add a lot of players. The players that we have brought in will add value,” added Chitima.
He said they were targeting the money-spinning group stages in the Champions League, a feat that would guarantee them $550 000 after Caf reviewed their prize monies upwards beginning this season.
So confident are Caps United in reaching the group stages that they have left five slots open in their squad allocation, which they intend to fill up if they reach the stage.
Caps United will begin their Champions League campaign with a clash against Lesotho minnows Lioli in the preliminary stage before taking on African football giants TP Mazembe in the first round proper.
They make the trip to Maseru first before welcoming the side in the second leg in Harare a week later.
It should be an easy win for Chitembwe’s men against Lioli, but awaiting them in the first round are continental heavyweights TP Mazembe.
If they progress here, they will qualify to the group stages after Caf cut the two-legged qualifying phase from three rounds to two and the group stage has been expanded from eight to 16 teams, divided into four groups of four clubs.
If they lose against Mazembe, they will be relegated to the Caf Confederations Cup where they would be required to participate in a play-off round.
The preliminary round ties will be played on the weekends of February 10-12 and 17-19‚ with the first round ties on the weekends of March 10-12 and 17-19.
Caps United’s Caf Champions League squad:
Edmore Sibanda, Stephen Makatuka, Last Sithole, Dennis Dauda, Valentine Musarurwa, Hardlife Zvirekwi Ronald Chitiyo, Moses Muchenje, Dominic Chungwa, Tafadzwa Rusike, Abbas Amidu, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Jorum Muchambo, Blessing Biseki, Joel Ngodzo, Devon Chafa, Cabby Kamhapa, Carlton Munzabwa, Phineas Bamusi, Leonard Tsipa, Kudzai Nyamupfukudza, Simbarashe Nhivi, Prosper Chigumba, Justice Jangano, Amon Kambanje