City confident of Chitiyo deal

HARARE - Premiership side Harare City are confident of retaining their star midfielders Ronald Chitiyo and Ralph Manuvire whose contracts expire at the end of this month.

The duo has attracted the interest of a number of top flight clubs as the Sunshine Boys dithered in offering them renewed terms.

Sunshine Boys secretary-general Matthew Marara said what gives them confidence in reaching an agreement with the two stars is the fact they have already concluded negotiations with midfielders Tendai Samanja and Raymond Uchena together with full back Takudzwa Chimwemwe.

Samanja and Uchena saw little game time last season, especially after Moses Chunga took over from Taurai Mangwiro.

Negotiations with Manuvire and Chitiyo are now underway with the Sunshine Boys optimistic the process will be completed before the end of the year.

Last week, Chitiyo told the Daily News he could return to Dynamos if City did not renew his contract while Manuvire was also said to be under the radar of several clubs, including champions CAPS United and Ngezi Platinum Stars, who will be participating in the African Champions League and Confederation Cup.

The Sunshine Boys have set their sights on mounting a serious title challenge in 2017 with Chitiyo and Manuvire forming an integral part of that plan hence the urgent need to tie them down before they are snapped up by rival clubs.

“We have no intention of letting the two players leave and negotiations for possible contracts extension have already started,” Marara told the Daily News yesterday.

“They remain key players and we as an ambitious side we cannot let our best stars leave. We are working round the clock to ensure they come back for next season. Of course for now nothing yet has been agreed but I am very confident we will conclude the deals soon.

“For now, I can tell you that we have since renewed the deals for Samanja, Uchena and Chimwemwe. Maybe we will also be looking at adding two or three players depending on what the coaches want.”

The municipal side struggled to reach their expectations in the just-ended season which saw them finish a distant ninth on the final log table.

They were also knocked out of the African Confederation Cup by Zambian side Zanaco in the first round.

That poor run saw Mangwiro being replaced by former Dynamos midfielder Chunga, who also struggled to get the best out of the squad and his contract which expires at the end of the month will not be renewed as well.

Next season, former Highlanders coach and Warriors’ assistant Mkhuphali Masuku will be in charge of the side and will be assisted by Mike Madzivanyika.

Marara said they have since set their sights on winning the title. “We have given the new technical team a target of winning the championship,” he said.

“We believe we have some of the best players in the league and I don’t see anything that can stop us from winning the league title next season.

“But for now, what is important is to retain our players and probably add new ones but it will not be more than three.”

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