By Robson Sharuko
The assembling of the US$120 000 specially-customised 45-seater passenger bus, which Nyasha Mushekwi bought for his old club CAPS United, has now been completed and the luxury coach is expected to be delivered to the Green Machine next month.
The Zimbabwe international striker, who turned 32 last month, acquired the luxury bus as a token of appreciation for the role CAPS United played in his career as a professional footballer.
The acquisition of the bus comes exactly 10 years to the year Mushekwi left the Green Machine, moving to South Africa to join Mamelodi Sundowns, before his adventure took him to Sweden, Belgium and China.
The big striker yesterday released the first pictures of the luxury bus, which has a predominant white paint but will have some green touches when it arrives in South Africa, to The Saturday Herald.
The South African experts will also brand it with the CAPS United logo.
‘‘The bus is scheduled to arrive (in Harare) at the end of October,’’ Mushekwi told this newspaper yesterday.
‘‘It will have a stop-over in South Africa, during its shipment home, for 10 days to get branded.
‘‘That’s where the guys who wrap my cars are they are really good guys. We settled for the white colour to try and match one of the colours associated with the team.
‘‘Of course, there will be some touches of green, and all this will be done in South Africa, but the most important thing right now is that the assembling of the bus, as per our specifications, has now been completed.’’
Mushekwi, who left Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang recently to move to second-tier side Zhejiang Greentown, said the luxury bus – complete with on-board additions like a refrigerator, will be used by the Green Machine as their team bus.
He said it was his gift to them for the role they played in his development.
‘‘Remember, this is a team bus for a professional football club and it should be fitted with things that will make the boys feel comfortable on their trips when they are going for their assignments,’’ he revealed.
‘‘I asked them to make it white outside, to match the team colours, then we are going to brand it with the green colour too, it cost me about US$120 000.
‘‘It’s God’s work, CAPS United put me on the map, I’m thankful to God for this opportunity and I know the situation back home and it’s like, as and when, I can help, I should be able to do so.
‘‘God is always doing amazing things, we give praise to Him.’’
CAPS United have been using the bus they received from Nyaradzo Funeral Group in June 2013 as their team bus. The subject of the luxury coach which Mushekwi acquired for his beloved Green Machine has been trending on social media, since the news broke out, and on Thursday, the FC Platinum fans brought it back on Twitter after their team arrived in Beira, on board a chartered flight, for their Champions League match.
‘‘The streets are already talking about us having a private jet,’’ the FC Platinum fans tweeted against a background of their players and officials disembarking from the chartered plane.
‘‘We know it suits us but that’s not ours. We have to wait for @capsunitedfczw to get a bigger bus first before we acquire one.
‘‘We have arrived safely in Moza.’’
Mushekwi said although he left the Green Machine 10 years ago, his love for CAPS United remained very strong and, as and when he can help, he will always try to uplift his old side.
‘‘I love my team, they are my team and they gave me an opportunity to be who I am and I can never forget what they did to me and it’s important that the new generation of players should also be inspired that, if they work hard, they can go places and, maybe, one day, they can also give back to the team,’’ he said.
‘‘CAPS United is a big brand and it’s a huge family and we are all part of it, including those fans who cheer the team week in and week out, and it’s important that we keep the team moving forward because, before us, there were some people who were playing for this team and helped it to be what it is.
‘‘We then came along and we found it in good shape and the next generation should also find it in good shape and those who can do something should be able to help this team.’’
CAPS United are a private football franchise owned by Farai Jere, the Premier Soccer League chairman, and businessman, Nhamo Tutisani.
The luxury coach, on Alibaba, the giant Chinese online retail forum, costs between US$75 000 and US$80 000 but, because of the new features, which Mushekwi asked to be fitted to the bus, the cost rose to about US$120 000.
The big striker’s lawyers, Chambati, Mataka & Makonese last month wrote to Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry saying they were requesting a waiver for the bus not to pay duty.
On the same day, Coventry responded to the lawyers advising them CAPS had to write to the Sport and Recreation Commission, through ZIFA, requesting exemption of import duty for the 45-seater bus. The Herald