Caps United have scored one over bitter rivals Dynamos after securing the services of one of the most-sought-after free agents of this transfer period, Brian Muzondiwa, who picked the Green Machine over DeMbare and Chicken Inn.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The three teams had been involved in a tussle for the forward who was deemed to be surplus to requirements by FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza.
Caps chief executive Cuthbert Chitima confirmed that they had secured the services of the striker who was a Soccer Star of the Year finalist in 2015.
“We have signed Brian Muzondiwa on a two-year contract. That is the only signing so far as we prepare for the next season,” Chitima said.
Muzondiwa was released by FC Platinum, after struggling to hold down a first team shirt last season and with more strikers coming in ahead of their Caf Champions League participation, his situation was further compounded.
Caps United, who were decimated by the departure of several stars to foreign clubs, have vowed to put together a strong squad with the ultimate aim of winning the league title in the forthcoming season and on Monday evening they made their first move. The Green Machine have over the last six months lost no less than six key players, which has cast doubts on their chances of winning the championship next season.
Those that have left Caps are Ronald Chitiyo and Abbas Amidu, who joined Tunisian and Egyptian clubs respectively, while Ronald Pfumbidzai moved to South African club Bloemfontein Celtic.
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Last season’s Golden Boot winner Dominic Chungwa and goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda joined Polokwane City and Witbank Spurs respectively, while Devon Chafa and Moses Muchenje are currently on trials in Egypt.
After December 31, Caps only had four players contracted to the club as most deals with the players had run their course. Some of the players are looking to moves across borders while the club is battling to convince some of them to extend their stay at the club.
John Zhuwawo’s proposed move to Ajax Cape Town fell through following a change in coaching personnel at the club, which has benefited Caps who still have a one-year contract with him.
Caps coach Lloyd Chitembwe has been assessing a number of foreign players, including some from Ghana and Zambia, since last year with a view to signing them.
Some of the players are expected to come for final assessment, as the club starts pre-season preparations.
The Harare giants won their first championship in 11 years under Chitembwe in 2016, but a punishing schedule that saw them focusing on both the Caf Champions League and the domestic league put paid to their title hopes, as they went on to finish a distant fifth with FC Platinum taking the honours.
FC Platinum, who were drawn to face Angolan side Deportivo de Agosto in the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League, have put together a strong squad, with the addition of former Highlanders captain and attacking midfielder Rahman Kutsanzira, as well as Cameroonian Albert Eonde and Shadreck Mayembe from Zambia, all in attack.
The new arrivals pushed out Muzondiwa and former Dynamos striker Takesure Chinyama.
Mapeza has, however, also added midfielder Liberty Chakoroma, whom they signed from Ngezi Platinum, while Lawrence Mhlanga is now on their books to stabilise the defence.
Losing the Muzondiwa battle comes as a blow to Dynamos, but they too benefited with Cameroonian striker Christian Epoupa’s move to South Africa also falling through after he picked up an injury.