HARARE giants, Dynamos have opened negotiations with out-of-contract players including Soccer Star of the Year finalist, Tichaona Chipunza, as they battle to retain the stars that shone brightest to help them to a second-place finish last season.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Chipunza, voted the Players’ Player of the Year, as well as the Most Consistent Player, is now a free agent after his contract with the club expired on December 31.
Vice-captain, Obey Mwerahari and Peace Makaha are also free agents following the expiry of their contracts with the Glamour Boys last week.
With reports linking some of the players to clubs like Yadah FC, a meeting has been scheduled for today between the players and the technical team headed by coach Lloyd Mutasa to try and entice them into extending their contracts before meeting the club’s management.
“We are going to meet with the players as the technical team tomorrow (today) for contract talks. We have players like Chipunza, Obey and Peace, whose contracts have expired,” Mutasa confirmed.
“We want to hear from them what they have in mind, after which we will then meet the executive.”
While the technical team is keen on retaining its stars, the club hierarchy is handicapped in their negotiations, as they have to clear arrears to enable the players to commit themselves to new deals.
The players are owed bonuses for 14 matches, which include 10 wins and four draws.
The Glamour Boys pay their players a winning bonus of $200 and $70 for a drawn game.
To make matters worse, players have been earning half salaries throughout the season and they had a dry Christmas holiday, as most of them went home with less than $350.
Dynamos struggled to pay the players’ salaries after their principal sponsor, BancABC, who were previously footing the entire salary bill, cut the sponsorship package by half.
Things could be different though this season, as DeMbare are closing in on a mega sponsorship contract with mobile network company, NetOne.
NetOne are understood to be preparing to pour in over $1 million into the Big Three, Caps United, Highlanders and Dynamos.
With steady income, Dynamos are poised to attract some of the best players in the country and with an assurance of financial backing, their stars from last season could stay at the club.
The Harare giants defied the odds stacked against them, as they fought hard and long in the championship race only to be beaten to the finishing line by champions FC Platinum on the very last day of the league programme.
Although they were pipped to the title by two points after ending the campaign on 70 points, they recorded the most wins, 21, one more than FC Platinum.
Dynamos, who are almost certain they will lose Cameroonian striker, Christian Epoupa, who is likely to sign for South African Premiership side Bidvest Wits, are desperate to hold on to some of their senior stars.
Team captain, Ocean Mushure is also reported to be owed $23 000 in signing-on fee.
However, the inspirational captain, who won the Player of the Year award, still has a year left on his contract with the Harare giants.
The Glamour Boys are also desperate to convince Cleopas Kapupurika to renew his loan deal, which has also expired.
Kapupurika, on loan from FC Platinum, was voted the Most Entertaining Player at the club’s awards ceremony recently.