After learning that their players are being circled by better-resourced Castle Lager Premier Soccer League rivals, Caps United have moved to fend off the interest by promising to pay the players the money they are owed before entering into new contract negotiations next week.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The Green Machine players are owed about three months’ salaries and allowances amid reports suggesting that Yadah FC are targeting some of their players.
Chief executive Cuthbert Chitima, in an address to the players yesterday, assured them that they would get their dues by next week.
“Chitima came to address the players after the training session. He assured them that they would get their dues next week. He clarified that they were expecting the remainder of their Caf Champions League prize money next week after which they would pay the players,” a close source said.
Caps United earned themselves a staggering $550 000 after defying odds stacked against them to reach the lucrative group stage of the African Champions League for the first time and were paid half of the money.
However, the balance had not yet been disbursed since the conclusion of the tournament on November 4 in Morocco, where Wydad Casablanca clinched the prestigious trophy after edging Egyptian giants Al Ahly 1-0.
With the two teams having drawn 1-1 on October 28 in Alexandria, it meant the Moroccan giants lifted the trophy on a 2-1 aggregate victory.
The Harare giants are also expected to tie down several of their players whose contracts will run out on December 31.
Yadah FC are understood to be targeting some Caps United players ahead of the next term. Last season they managed to lure defender Dennis Dauda into their ranks.
However, a number of players from across Africa, including Zambia, are keen to join Caps United with the Zambian players, headlined by Kabwe Warriors captain Munga Chilembe, expected in the country for assessment by the technical team in the first week of January.
Other Zambian players that have shown interest to join Caps United are goalkeeper Reegan Simango, who has been in Zimbabwe training with the Green Machine for almost a month, and the pair of strikers Jason Sunzu and Peter Tando, who turn out for Kongola Blades.
After a good run in the Champions League, where they went as far as the group stage, Caps United exported a number of their talents and have become a source for players, especially for bigger leagues on the continent.
Caps United dumped out five-time African champions TP Mazembe from the tournament in the first round.
In the group stage, they made their presence felt with famous wins over former African champions Zamalek and Algerian side USM Alger in Harare.
Those that have since left for greener pastures are Ronald Chitiyo, Abbas Amidu and Ronald Pfumbidzai.
Chitiyo is now playing in Tunisia, while Amidu and Pfumbidzai are playing in Egypt and South Africa respectively, whereas striker John Zhuwawo is leaving to join South African Premiership side Ajax Cape Town after impressing during a three-day trial assessment period.
Caps United finished the season on fifth position with 58 points, three behind fourth-placed Chicken Inn.