BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
MOBILE network company NetOne has given Harare football giants Caps United a target of a top-four finish as one of the conditions before the consummation of a new partnership ahead of the start of the campaign next month.
NetOne have been the principal sponsors of Dynamos, Caps United and Highlanders in the last campaign where they took care of players’ salaries, among other things.
Apart from the Big Three, NetOne have also been bankrolling army side Black Rhinos and air force side Chapungu.
However, with the contracts having ended last year, the parties are back to the drawing board seeking another commercial partnership.
At Caps United, players reportedly embarked on industrial action demanding their dues last week and this week.
However, Caps United vice-president Nhamo Tutisani, who addressed the players at their training ground in Mount Pleasant yesterday, dismissed reports that they were on industrial action.
“Our players are not on strike. They have been training as usual, but of course, they want their dues, so we have been engaged in dialogue and they have been co-operative. They have been coming to training,” he said.
“We are still negotiating with our sponsor, so this has caused the delay in payment of the players’ dues. But the good thing is that our players have been very understanding and are coming for training as usual and once we are done with our sponsors, they will be paid.”
The Harare businessman, whose team has been on the forefront in professionalising the domestic game, stressed the need for players to work hard and play good football in order to give the sponsors value for their money.
The Caps United vice-president said they had no problems with conditions being set by their sponsors because they also want returns.
“As former champions, we have an obligation to give our sponsors value for their money. They (sponsors) want returns, so we need to work hard as a team and this is what we have been telling players. They should compete and play good football which draws huge crowds to the stadium,” the Caps United boss said.
Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe, who has been assessing a number of players with a view to signing them, said he had been impressed by former Dynamos trio of Valentine Ndaba, Carlos Rusere and goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga, among other trialists.
Chitembwe, however, said he was left with two slots, and was yet to make up his mind on who among a host of trialists to take on board.
“I am yet to decide. We are left with two slots, but what I can say is that Ndaba, Mateyaunga and Rusere have done very well, they have impressed,” he said.
Caps are remoulding a team which they believe can deliver honours this term.
The 2016 champions endured a difficult campaign last term in which they finished 30 points behind eventual champions FC Platinum.