ZIMBABWEAN football champions, Caps United fear FC Platinum and ZPC Kariba will ambush their foreign targets and are keeping the players’ arrival a closely-guarded secret.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Caps United are travelling to Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday for their Caf Champions League clash against Zamalek, but are concerned that their foreign trialists from Ghana and Nigeria, whom they invited to come for assessment and even financed their travel to Harare, might be snapped up by FC Platinum and ZPC Kariba, who are said to be ready to pounce on them if given any slight opportunity.
However, George Deda, who facilitated the deals, yesterday said the players were destined for Caps United unless the Green Machine change their minds.
“It should be made clear that these players are going to Caps United unless they decide otherwise. I enjoy a very good working relationship with Caps United and their president, Farai Jere, and it is my wish to maintain those relations. Remember, I also manage at least six players in the current Caps United squad,” he said.
Although Ghanaian Wilson Andoh — a former King Faisal Babes forward — flew into Harare on Friday last week, Caps United continue to be secretive about the arrival of the other two players.
Initially, they were expected to arrive on Tuesday, but Caps United chief executive, Cuthbert Chitima said they decided that the players jet in upon the team’s return from Cairo from their Champions League assignment.
He reasoned that they wanted to avoid unnecessary expenses, as the coach would not have time to look at them since he would be away in Egypt. Another Ghanaian, Richard Addai, and Nigerian attacker, Abasirim Chidiebere, are the other two players expected to arrive for assessment and contract talks with Caps United.
FC Platinum were the first to sound out Chidiebere in the build-up to this season, but Caps United have since stolen a march on them because of the lure of Champions League football.
Everything, though, could still swing back in FC Platinum’s favour if the Green Machine, who have had financial problems, fail to put an attractive package on the table. On the other hand, ZPC Kariba are interested in one of the two Ghanaian attackers.
In 2004, South African giants Kaizer Chiefs had their target Peter Ndlovu, whom they had flown from England and booked in a five-star hotel, snatched by Mamelodi Sundowns while they were in the process of negotiations. Chiefs even attempted to force Sundowns to refund them money for air tickets, but with no luck.
Since then, there has been bad blood between the two clubs.
Caps United were drawn in Group B alongside five-time African champions Zamalek, USM Alger of Algeria and Al Ahly of Libya.
They are expected to resume training this morning after taking a rest yesterday as they prepare for the trip to Egypt.
The Green Machine have been holding some of their training sessions in the evening under floodlights, as they will play the Zamalek match at 9pm local time on Friday. The Lloyd Chitembwe-coached side fretted on the fitness of Tafadzwa Rusike (pictured), but the attacker has recovered from an injury ahead of the Egypt trip.
Striker, Leonard Tsipa could miss out on the match due to delays in the regularisation of his paperwork.