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Caps look West

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ZIMBABWE’S Caf Champions League representatives, Caps United, will bolster their squad for the continental football showcase with foreign players and three trialists are set to arrive at the weekend from West Africa.

BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA

Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe
Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe

The three players, whose trip to Harare is being facilitated by their local representative and one of Zimbabwe’s top football agents, George Deda, are from Nigeria and Ghana.

Caps United are deliberately focusing their search in West Africa with emphasis on well-built players that add physical presence to their attack.

The Green Machine chief executive officer Cuthbert Chitima yesterday confirmed that his club were looking to sign four more players, but said there was nothing yet tangible on any specific players.

“What I can confirm is that we will definitely sign more players because right now we have four slots that are open following our registration of (Leonard) Tsipa,” Chitima said. “Because we have these open slots, we have had so many offers from different agents, who want us to have a look at their clients. I think I have about eight players that I have been offered so far, but at the moment there is nothing that has been done. We will sign players, but they will most likely miss the first match which is only two weeks away, but we have so many matches coming up and there will be a lot of pressure trying to manage the domestic and continental loads.”

Caps United were placed in Group B with Zamalek, Algeria’s USM Alger and Al Ahli Tripoli, where the top two sides qualify for the quarter-finals.

After the Green Machine qualified for the group stage at the expense of Lesotho’s Lioli and former African champions TP Mazembe, scoring three goals in the four matches, added to the departure of Simba Nhivi, coach Lloyd Chitembwe chose to strengthen his attack ahead of the tough stage.

Caps United first played a nil-all draw in the away match against Lioli before running away 2-1 winners in Harare, while against TP Mazembe they fought out a 1-1 draw in Lubumbashi before closing out a nil-all draw at the National Sports Stadium to progress.

Chitembwe’s side will be looking to register Tsipa, who had been omitted for the qualifiers before the mini league phase.

In continental competitions, it has been proven that size matters and Chitembwe wants to take care of that aspect.

However, he will not be able to call upon the new acquisitions for the Zamalek match, which will be played on Friday May 12 in Egypt.

Chitembwe already has Dominic Chungwa and Abbas Amidu in his ranks to add to Tsipa and the foreign players.

After the registration of Tsipa, Caps have four slots left even though they also have Nhivi on their list, whose services they cannot make use of after he left the club.

Afetr qualifying for the mini league phase, Caps United have set their sights on a berth in the quarter-finals.

They are fighting on two fronts as they have also put themselves in the frame to defend the domestic league title.

In that regard and with a lot of football coming up this year, Caps United will need to have a big squad that can compete on both fronts without any compromise on one competition.

Chitembwe has emphasised the need to manage the load on his players who face a gruelling season of around 60 matches.

So far he has used captain Hardlife Zvirekwi sparingly after his involvement at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon earlier this year.

Between matches he has been chopping and changing in a bid to give his players enough rest.

Caps United managed to keep together the squad that won the championship last season with Nhivi being the notable figure that left the club.

Nhivi is believed to be angling for a move to Tanzania after contract negotiations with Caps United failed to yield
anything.

Former Dynamos and Harare City attacker Ronald Chitiyo is one of the few arrivals.

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