CAPS fire senior players

HARARE - Caps United yesterday fired seven senior players in what new club CEO Joel Makuvire says are measures to “liberate the club’s pay roll,” a development set to throw pre-season preparations into turmoil.  

The club spokesman told the Daily News last night that the players have been sacked in an effort to blood youngsters in the team following years of underachieving with players who have “big contracts”, while an inside source claims the players have been punished for leading a rebellion over non-payment of salaries and dues.

Makuvire said the club was increasingly finding it hard to meet its financial obligation to the players, revealing that captain Tapiwa Kumbuyani, veteran striker Shingi kawondera, left-back Asani Nhongo, goalkeeper Itai Chiwara and emerging player Luckson Kaisa had all been shown the exit door.

Makuvire, who recently returned to the club in a higher position after leaving the former champions six years ago, added that forwards Washington Pakamisa and Nqobile Mpala have asked to be released.

“The thing is we are trying to rebuild based on financial values where every cent spend is justifiable,” Makuvire told the Daily News.  

“When I joined, I observed that of the things the club was doing wrongly was that there was no consideration for value, we had too many average players. Because they were at CAPS, they saw  themselves as big name players. But they were average players, and these average players, what do they do, they give you a raw deal. They were average players with big contracts, but poor performances. So we said as a club which should arrest this. Players who do not fit the value model should go. We want players who give us big performances, but without big contracts. We are known as a club which give players a platform for big contracts outside the country.

“We now had players whose financial obligation the club could not no longer meet. If I tell you Shingi’s salary you would be shocked. And as for the captain, Kumbuyani, we felt he wasn’t giving real value for a player we believed he was. Then there is the goalkeeper, Itai Chiwara, he’s 34 or 35, we felt his career was not going anywhere.

“There presence at the club had a direct effect on our wage bill of $6 000. We want to liberate that pay roll and use the resources to invest wisely in younger players who give us real value.”

Meawhile, a source told this paper last night that the sacked players have been asked to leave the club after leading a rebellion over unpaid salaries and dues.

CAPS players have been boycotting training for a week owing to non-payment of January salaries, much to the frustration of caretaker coach Mkhupali Masuku.

The source said a storm had been brewing at the four-time Zimbabwean champions since players received half salaries in December.

The source added that matters came to a head at the end of last month after no salaries were paid, setting off a player revolt that has culminated into the expulsion of leading players.

The Harare club, who last won the Zimbabwean league title in 2005, are restructuring following the resignation of former co-president and chief financier Farai Jere, whose departure has been described as a major setback for the club.

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