BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Only last month, Caps United seemed to be heading for their worst crisis as financial struggles saw key players stampeding at the exit door.
Their season seemed to be over even before it had actually started and there were fears that the Green Machine would struggle even to assemble a team to fulfil Premier Soccer League fixtures.
There were fears for the worst and when club owner Farai Jere emerged to declare that the team would be fighting for the title, many dismissed his ambition as a day-dreamer’s fantasy.
To some it was not inspiring that Caps lost young talent and replaced it with veterans that have been around for a life time, seemingly with nowhere else to go.
Six matches into the season’s campaign, Caps United have registered a single win, and even though it was so emphatic as they clobbered Whawha 6-0, it cannot be a benchmark to say they are out of the woods.
It is the way that they have been playing that one can say Lloyd Chitembwe is managing to make lemonade from the lemons at his disposal.
He seemed to have been making the worst signings when he brought in defender Dennis Dauda, midfielder Devon Chafa as well as forwards William Manondo and Rodwell Chineyngetere who are all well into their 30s.
For a team with empty coffers, Chitembwe did a good job first to convince the players that they had to stay on and secondly to persuade players to join a team struggling financially.
“I really feel vindicated,” beamed Chitembwe after seeing his side run riot, a week after they had shipped in six against Manica Diamonds.
A long hard season for Whawha
Caps United’s victims on Sunday, Whawha, face a long hard season, if Luke Petros cannot come up with some magic of his own.
Following the miserable show in the Chibuku Super Cup last year, it was quite clear that the Midlands side would struggle in the elite league, but it seems things are getting worse.
The transfer window is still ajar, but their coffers are as empty as their wins column and unlike Caps, they don’t have the big name that can lure better players.
Fears are that they could set records for all the wrong reasons having already conceded a mammoth 20 goals in just six matches.
More money more problems for Mpofu
The arrival of Sakunda with their bottomless pockets to oil Dynamos and Highlanders’ campaigns was greeted with lots of optimism that the giants could turn the hands of time and dominate the league. It has been a mixed bag of results for Dynamos and their win over Bulawayo Chiefs away from home last week is quite a statement.
Highlanders are waist deep into the sticky relegation mud. They have mustered a single win so far, which came against Whawha before they lost to Bulawayo City and failed to beat
All eyes are on coach Mandla Mpofu, who had US$60 000 at his disposal to sign new players, yet Bosso have not imposed themselves that much on the transfer market and they are failing to make their mark in the league.
Dynamos seem to have done good business as they went for imports when they failed to find what they wanted on the domestic market.
It is still early days, but signs are pointing to DeMbare enjoying a fruitful year.
Chicken Inn still the team to beat
Highlanders’ city rivals Chicken Inn have already shown signs that they will be the team to beat this season, having won five of their last six matches, including against Dynamos away from home.
Their only defeat came against FC Platinum and they have been perfect since their 2-1 defeat in Match Day Two.
Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas has predicted a tough and competitive season where he was looking at least six teams making a real shout for the league title.
They lost a couple of players to other teams including Bulawayo Chiefs, but Antipas is pleased with the business that he has conducted so far and the results are showing.
Chicken Inn are not an easy side to dislodge from the top of the league table once they sit there, but teams like Dynamos know fully well the task at hand as they stare a five-point gap with the table toppers.
- Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinmapasure