By Grace Chingoma
CAPS United have slammed bitter rivals Dynamos for their Big Brother approach to clandestinely try and lure striker Evans Gwekwerere back into the Glamour Boys’ fold during the transfer window that closed yesterday.
DeMbare on Tuesday lined up a last-minute bid to snatch Gwekwerere from the Green Machine as they desperately sought to employ a trusted forward to replace Takesure Chinyama. While Dynamos had been talking to the player, who appeared willing to return to the club where he first made an impact in the Premiership, they hadn’t formally approached CAPS United.
Regulations governing contracted players are clear that clubs can only open negotiations with them after getting the greenlight from the team that holds the players’ signature. CAPS United feel DeMbare crossed the line, in their secret deals to try and convince Gwekwerere to return to their fold, and said their approach lacked professionalism.
Apparently, DeMbare officials had agreed with the striker to have his deal at CAPS United nullified, turning him into a free agent, with the hope to get him registered for the Glamour Boys after the transfer window.
But, given that Gwekwerere was registered for a local Premiership side at the time the window opened, he would not have qualified for free agency status, in the domestic Premiership, even if his contract with CAPS United was nullified.
Although, in the final six months of his contract, Gwekwerere can talk to potential suitors, he can only do so with the blessing of the club that holds his signature. Yesterday, CAPS United vice-president, Farai Jere, said DeMbare could have handled their courtship of Gwekwerere better.
“Dynamos never approached us formally and we just saw it in the newspapers that they were interested in our player and they had been talking to him,” said Jere.
“We cannot have a situation where they try to bully everyone. We are not happy at all. Dynamos need to be professional and football should be run along professional lines. They could have approached us and, if we wanted, we could have entered into a deal and they would give us what was due to us.
“He has a contract with us up to the end of the year and he is employed by us and paid to do work for us. And if they really wanted him they could have approached us first but they didn’t and that is disturbing to say the least.”
Jere said they were even infuriated further when they realised that the tapping started before the Harare Derby and the former Moroka and Jomo Cosmos forward did not feature in the showdown as he was ruled out with an injury.
“It becomes a problem when a player is approached before a crucial game and I am not suggesting anything, as I am not a doctor, but when the player ends up not playing the game, because he is injured, and the same club we are playing against is also talking to him, it really becomes tricky,” said Jere.
“We just don’t want our players disturbed as they will end up losing concentration and should be left to concentrate on their game. Anyway the transfer window has closed and Evans remains our player. If they want him they should wait until the end of the season and maybe get him as a free agent because we cannot stand in the player’s way or force him to play for us.”
The CAPS United vice-president said they acquired Gwekwerere because they knew he could add value to the team and nothing had changed up to now. “We still have him in our plans and we want him to extend his contract and continue playing for us,” said Jere. “He is a good player and very soon we would be talking to him about extending his contract. We have our own ambitions as a club and we want to meet those targets and we need to have the best possible players around to do that.
“We just can’t hand over our best players to other clubs as if we don’t want to compete and, worse still, to our biggest rivals, to strengthen them while we weaken ourselves. That is tantamount to committing suicide and we don’t want to do that and even if Dynamos had come with US$1 million we would have told them that we don’t need their money because Evans is more important, for our team, than their money.
“It’s an issue that is sensitive and imagine is we were talking to Rodrick Mutuma in the week leading to the derby and he doesn’t perform, what would people be saying, especially when it emerges that we didn’t have that greenlight from the Dynamos officials to talk to him?
“We have a long way to go before we really become professional and we have to all work hard to get there and we respect Dynamos a lot, they beat us on Saturday and we accepted defeat because that is what sport is all about, but we have to learn to do things the right way.”
Gwekwerere has enjoyed little game time at the club and has had public fallout with assistant coach Lloyd Chitembwe on a number of occasions. Since the season started, the player has not featured in four games in a row for the club and is yet to score a league goal this season. Makepekepe have signed former Warrior’s striker Shingi Kawondera and former Gunners front man, Leonard Fiyado, to bolster the club’s strike force which also has Washington Pakamisa and Clive Kawinga.
While Kawinga has received a lot of game time, he has struggled to justify the coaches’ confidence in him to deliver for a big team like the Green Machine and goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda has more goals than the striker. Gwekwerere and Kawondera are close friends and that had a huge influence in the latter deciding to join CAPS United instead of Dynamos. The Herald
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