Caps battles to balance books

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“I am still checking on him and there are targets that I have set for him. He is overweight, but since he is a free agent and will not be affected by the closure of the window period, I believe I could sign him if he meets my targets.”

HARARE giants Caps United appear to have opened an export avenue for players to help balance their books and sustain the day-to-day operations of the club which is facing a serious cash squeeze.

TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
SPORTS REPORTER

The Harare giants recently appointed Englishman Mark Harrison as the club’s football manager, quite a bold decision given the economic hardships faced by most Zimbabwean clubs.

But the move to hire Harrison is slowly turning out to be the best prescription to try and turn around the fortunes of the financially struggling club.

The Briton has strong links with several European clubs particularly those in England where he grew up and started his football career – playing for Stoke City and Southampton, among other teams.

He has links with South African clubs where he coached for a couple of years before terminating his contract with Black Leopards to take up the demanding Caps United job early last month.

It appears Caps United want to use the Briton’s influence in both South Africa and Europe to unlock avenues for their players.

Already, Ronald Pfumbidzai – the club’s most prized assets – had trials with Kaizer Chiefs last week, albeit unsuccessfully, and sister paper NewsDaySport has established that the stint was instigated by Harrison.

Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung exclusively told NewsDay  yesterday that it was Harrison who recommended Pfumbidzai’s 10-day trial stint.

 Ronald Pfumbidzai
Ronald Pfumbidzai

Motaung, however, said they were currently not looking for any player in that position.

“The player – Ronald Pfumbidzai – has been on trials with us, but there was nothing that came out of it because we are not looking for a player in that position at the moment. He was just recommended to us by Mark Harrison who is now coaching in Zimbabwe. I don’t have a report from the technical team on their assessment of the player. I will have to ask the coach first,” Motaung said.

Pfumbidzai flew back into the country on Tuesday empty handed with other reports coming from across the Limpopo River suggesting the 20-year-old former Young Warriors captain could be taken on board in the future. The South African transfer window closed on Friday.

With corporate sponsorship hard to come by, Caps United endured tough times in the last couple of years, surviving on a shoestring budget season after season.

While the Harare giants enjoyed a transfer feast when they sold stars such as former Warriors captain Method Mwanjali, Nyasha Mushekwi, Tafadzwa Rusike, Lionel Mutizwa, Oscar Machapa and Gilbert Mapemba, that export policy has been met with strong condemnation from a section of team supporters.

Since then, Caps has not exported a single player abroad, which could have been the main cause for their current financial famine.

And it seems they are reverting to their old strategy, which Harrison has been chosen to spearhead.

Reports suggest that unsettled striker Dominic Chungwa who had set his sights on joining bitter rivals Dynamos is also linked with a move to a South African club.

Star player Hardlife Zvirekwi – one of the heroes of the Chan campaign under the guidance of Ian Gorowa who guided the Warriors to the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time, could also be sold to a foreign club in the next transfer window.

 Hardlife Zvirekwi
Hardlife Zvirekwi

Harrison is, however, still holed up in South Africa as he processes his relocation to Harare. He was initially expected in the country on Tuesday but the Caps United hierarchy is now not sure when their coach will be back to start duty for the new campaign.

The 54-year-old is still to be issued a work permit according to the department of immigration.

Caps United assistant coaches Brenna Msiska and Fungai “Tostao” Kwashi are taking charge in his absence and have been conducting trials with a number of players they hope to hand contracts before the start of new campaign.

The club have so far lost at least six players, who include Kelvin Bulaji (Dynamos), Tapuwa Khumbuyani (How Mine), Tendai Samanja and Tafadzwa Dube (Harare City).

Honey Chimutimunzeve and Nicholas Alifandika did not renew their loan deals with the Harare giants and followed their former coach Taurai Mangwiro to Harare City.