CAPS United president Farai Jere has said his club is willing to break the bank to tie down soon-to-be-out-of-contract Ronald Chitiyo.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Chitiyo is making steady progress in his recovery from a knee injury, after he was hit by a car in Epworth and sat out the entire 2018 soccer season.
The injury had threatened to end his career, but the Harare football giants mobilised resources to help him undergo a knee operation by renowned specialist orthopaedic surgeon Allan Bowers.
The 26-year-old is expected to have fully recovered by the time the season starts. However, with his contract at Caps United set to run out on December 31, there are fears he could leave the Green Machine.
Jere, who has said they would be assembling a strong squad to challenge for honours in the next campaign, yesterday said Chitiyo was one of the players that coach Lloyd Chitembwe wants for the 2019 season, and that the Green Machine will not let him go.
“Chitiyo is one of the players that the coach has in his plans for next season. The club will do everything to renew his contract. He will certainly be part of our squad,” Jere said.
There is a window for other suitors, with Chitiyo saying he would be listening to offers as he steps up his rehabilitation.
The Caps United forward, one of the most creative players in domestic football, said there was significant progress in his recovery.
Chitiyo said he would start light training in the new year.
He, however, said he was not sure where he would be playing his football next season as his contract at Caps expires on December 31.
“There is significant progress. I should start jogging at the end of the month. I am sure by the start of the season, I will be fit to play,” Chitiyo said.
The Caps United forward said he would listen to offers from any club.
“I am not sure where I will be playing football next year. My contract with Caps United ends on December 31, so obviously, I will be a free agent, so I will consider offers from anywhere if there is nothing from Caps United,” Chitiyo said.
Chitiyo had secured a contract with Tunisian giants Club Sfaxian after impressive performances for Caps United in the Champions League. He, however, was forced to return home without kicking a ball for the Tunisian side after they were slapped with a transfer ban by Fifa, which meant they could not register foreign players. They eventually released the Caps United forward and other foreigners they had targeted.
Other players that also attracted interest and ended up securing contracts outside the country include Abbas Amidu, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Dominic Chungwa and goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda.
Considering that Caps United sacrificed resources to ensure Chitiyo was operated on, they are likely to renew his contract before it expires at the end of the month.
Chitembwe is also an admirer of Chitiyo, who has been the creative hub at the side.
The Green Machine endured a tough season last term, where they finished a disappointing eighth on the league table, having suffered 10 defeats and ending a massive 30 points behind title winners FC Platinum.
It is those records that have seen Caps rush into the transfer market to fortify their squad for next term.
The Green Machine have been linked with Phineas Bhamusi, who left the club to spend a year at Triangle.
Caps won the league title in 2016 and went on to represent the country in the Caf Champions League last year, where they had a good run playing in the group stages.