FORMER champions Caps United have paved the way for negotiations with several of their players for new deals, after reportedly clearing their salary and bonus arrears two days before Christmas.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The Green Machine, who faced the possibility of losing almost the entire squad, could not open any negotiations with their players since they owed them various amounts from the 2017 season.
Other teams such as ZPC Kariba and Yadah were already circling on the best talents that Caps United boast of.
Apart from skipper Hardlife Zvirekwi, defender Stephen Makatuka and Justice Jangano as well as goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba, who are contracted with the club beyond 2017, the rest of the players’ contracts expire on December 31.
Caps United owed players three months’ salaries, but the club’s management had promised them that they would clear the arrears as soon as they received the balance of their prize money for their participation in the Caf Champions League.
However, it has emerged that Caps United president Farai Jere (pictured) moved to pay the players on Saturday from his own pocket to ensure they enjoyed the Christmas holiday even though the prize money from the Caf Champions League which they were expecting a week ago had not yet been paid.
With their coach Lloyd Chitembwe having been targeted by ZPC Kariba as a possible replacement for Sunday Chidzambwa, who is now coach of the Warriors, the latest development helps the Harare giants in their bid to fend off interest from their rivals.
The Green Machine lost key players in the just-ended season after their participation in the Caf Champions League in which they defied the odds to go all the way to the group stage of the prestigious tournament.
Some of the players who left for greener pastures include Abbas Amidu and Ronald Chitiyo, who are now playing in Tunisia and Egypt respectively, while Ronald Pfumbidzai was also snapped up by South African top-flight side Bloemfontein Celtic.
Caps United are also on the verge of losing striker John Zhuwawo to South African Premiership side Ajax Cape Town.
The Urban Warriors dispatched a delegation here on Monday for a meeting with Jere, which is scheduled for today, to finalise the transfer of the player.
The player’s transfer had reportedly been stalled because of disagreements over the transfer fee, with reports suggesting Ajax Cape Town were not in agreement with the Green Machine’s asking price.
Caps United initially had reportedly demanded $100 000 before coming down to $60 000, but Ajax Cape Town were reported to be holding on for $40 000.
An unnamed Caps United official was reported to be blocking the player’s transfer to the South African club by demanding a huge transfer fee for the player.
The Harare giants are looking to rebuild their squad in preparation for the forthcoming season.
They will be seeking to mount a challenge on the championship this time around after finishing a distant fifth, as they struggled to cope with a heavy fixture schedule in which they fought on two fronts, participating in the Caf Champions League as well as the league title.