We deserve respect from CAPS: Bvumbi

HARARE - Former CAPS United centre-back James Bvumbi says the only way the fallen Cup Kings will reclaim their former glory is by restoring the club’s culture, system and tradition.

Bvumbi, who followed up his playing days with a post as one of the coaches at the once vibrant CAPS United junior system, and later head coach of the club, says his former paymasters are losing the plot and have shunned its former players.

“We can fire coaches and we can fire players, but we will remain in the same place,” Bvumbi tells the Daily News.

Bvumbi turned out for Makepepe in the late 1980’s in a star-studded outfit that swept all before them in a memorable decade for the four-time Zimbabwe champions.

Their only blemish in that golden era was their failure to clinch the BAT Super League. Those days United specialised in winning knockout competitions.

Starring at centre-back in that Freddy Mukwesha-coached side filled with such great players as Oscar “Simbimbino” Motsi in midfield, Joe “Jubilee” Shambo as the defensive link as well as the twin-striking pairing of Friday “Breakdown” Phiri and Shakeman “Mr Goals” Tauro, the team was simply invincible.

“Mushaisa mufaro, that is what they used to call us back then,” Bvumbi recalls nostalgically.   

“Highlanders and Dynamos were no match to us back then. We were united; the strength of CAPS was its vibrant youth development programme. This meant the culture was maintained, not to say there were no outsiders, but these few outsiders surrendered to the system.”

After a five-year stay at the former pharmaceutical-owned team, Bvumbi became one of the junior development coaches at United between 1995 and 1998.

That youth brigade churned out such brilliant youngsters as Leonard Tsipa, Ashley Rambanepasi, Artwell Mabhiza, among others.

These players would later form the core of Charles Mhlauri’s all-conquering team that won back-to-back league titles in 2004 and 2005.

“We had a vibrant junior policy in the 90’s. Albert Mabika and later Joe Mugabe were in charge of Mabvuku; I was heading the development of juniors in Chitungwiza while Eddie Muchongwe was heading the programme in Mbare and Alois Patsika (late) in Glen Norah. You can see we were covering all the corners.”

Bvumbi says his heart bleeds for the ailing Harare giants.  

“Last year we bought the aging Joel Luphahla as one of the replacements for some of the key players we had sold. You know the rest,” he says.

“These are the kind of decisions we have been making, acquiring players who either turn out to be cultural misfits or just cannot fit in the system.”

Bvumbi, who has also coached Motor Action and three-time Botswana Premier League champions Extension Gunners, calls on the Green Machine to integrate their club legends into the team’s structure.

“At this stage, there is no respect for us former players. Imagine I am respected more at Dynamos and Motor Action training sessions than I am at my own former club,”Bvumbi says.

“I cannot go to watch CAPS practise without being embarrassingly chased away. This is how we are treated, but we have the club at heart and we want to see it grow.  We can even be used as agents for the club to help beef up the junior structures, but somehow, the club does not see it that way.

“In the CAPS chain of command, there is the executive, technical department of coaches, players and then supporters, but no space for former players in that structure. Where are we going if we shun where we are coming from?”

Bvumbi was born on April 15, 1960, in Mutare. He cut his teeth in the junior ranks of former top flight club Mutare United, the forerunner to Mutare United which played in the PSL in the early 2000s.

Bvumbi was later recruited by Black Aces, who went on to fund his high school education at Harare’s Highfield High 1.

Bvumbi would break into the Black Aces starting X1 as a 19-year-old in 1979, playing alongside the likes of Maronga Nyengela, Sunday Masauso and Brighton Dzapisa.

He left Aces for a brief stint with Statehouse Tornadoes in 1985 before joining the Green Machine in 1986, a move facilitated by veteran administrator Julius Chifokoyo, the then club secretary.

The centre-back from Mutare called time on his career in 1991 but retraced his roots from 1995 to 1998 to nurture junior talent at United.

He holds a Futuro 11 Fifa/ Coca-Cola Education Programme certificate as well as a Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches Association Level 4 coaching certificate.

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