By Tadious Manyepo
While Caps United are at crossroads following the unceremonious resignation of their chief executive Cuthbert Chitima early this week, their arch-rivals Dynamos are leaving nothing to chance ahead of the 2019 Premiership football season.
Both clubs endured a bumpy 2018 season as neither managed to win a trophy nor finish the marathon in the top four despite carrying the pre-season’s favourites’ tag.
In fact, Dynamos spent the better part of the race fighting to retain their Premiership status and desperately changed their coaching department thrice in as many months.
Though the Green Machine’s lives were never threatened even once at any point in the race, they never showed a competitive edge good enough to challenge for the championship which was eventually won by FC Platinum.
Despite assembling what looked like decent squads on paper, reaching the semi-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup was the highlight of a largely poor season for both teams.
In the Chibuku Super Cup semis, DeMbare were downed by eventual winners Triangle while Caps United were eliminated by Harare City.
And naturally, the two Harare giants have to introspect and strengthen before the new season scheduled to kick-off in March commences.
Dynamos coach Lloyd Chigowe, given the mandate to lead the team in the reclamation of lost glory, having passed his probation by driving the Glamour Boys to safety, has never found time to rest.
The club, unlike all the other teams in the top-flight, haven’t given the players time off, save for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Chigowe wants to assemble a squad good enough to challenge for the honours next season and is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to bring back lost glory to the team.
“We couldn’t afford the luxury of going for the off-season break after such a dismal performance in 2018.
“It’s not business as usual for Dynamos to be seen fighting relegation. We only had to break for the Christmas and New Year holidays,” said Chigowe.
“After such a poor season in which we were fighting against relegation for the better part of the marathon, we can’t afford to be doing that next season.
“We are Dynamos and at this institution we are supposed to be competitive. We were by far below average last year and we should improve to the levels expected of us.”
Chigowe has pruned the team which did duty last season and has since recruited more from other local clubs.
Most of the players, whose contracts with the team expired on Monday, will not be retained while truant midfielder Denver Mukamba is likely to be dropped despite having six more months on his deal.
The same fate is even likelier for the trio of Kingston Nkhata, Peace Makaha and Obey Mwerahari who finished the season on the side-lines following their suspension for allegedly leading a mutiny at the club.
Marshal Machazane, who was also suspended together with the trio, has since joined Harare City.
Chigowe was scheduled to meet the club’s secretary-general Webster Marechera yesterday to map the way forward.
“We are definitely strengthening the squad. We are releasing a number of players whose contracts with the club expired on December 31, last year.
“But it will be very unprofessional for us to divulge the names of the players we will be releasing before giving them their letters. We have already decided who we want and those who we will release but at the moment we cannot name them.
“I am going to meet the secretary-general (Marechera) today (yesterday) for him to write the letters.
“We are strengthening our squad and we will be resuming training on Monday next week,” Chigowe said.
Former Yadah and Black Rhinos goalkeeper Stephen Chimusoro and Edgar Mhungu, released by Herentals in December, are all reported to have agreed deals with the Glamour Boys.
Caps United have been active on the transfer market at least until the shock resignation of Chitima under a cloud of controversy.
The former Gunners proprietor tendered his resignation early this week amidst reports that he has fallen out with the club’s minority shareholder, Nhamo Tutisani, over the signing-on fee of returnee Phineas Bamusi.
Chitima left the club at a time when he was also close to sealing a move for ex-Highlanders speedster Gabriel Nyoni.
As it stands, Nyoni might not even sign for Makepekepe as previously believed due to the in-house squabbles at the club.
Coach Lloyd Chitembwe is yet to make recommendations on the players he wants to retain for the 2019 season.
Hardlife Zvirekwi, Stephen Makatuka, Chris Mverechena and Cabby Kamhapa’s contracts expired on Monday.
Already defender Dennis Dauda has left for Zambia with Wisdom Mutasa linked with a move to hometown club Manica Diamonds.
However, the club’s staffers, who have been on leave, are scheduled to meet today for the way forward.
A well-versed source privy to the goings-on at Caps United said all is not well at the team following Chitima’s resignation.
“I can confirm that following the unceremonious resignation of the chief executive Cuthbert Chitima, all is not well at the club. Chitima had started negotiating with a number of good players with a view of taking them aboard but after this I am not sure if the deals will go through,” said the source.
“Chitima is the one who convinced Bamusi (Phineas) to rejoin the team from Triangle and was until his resignation chasing the signature of Gabriel Nyoni.
“The latter is most likely to make a U-turn and opt to stay at Highlanders as the guys at Caps United feel the deal which Nyoni and Chitima were pursuing was likely to fuel discontent with other players”. The Chronicle