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CAPS United seek to rebuild

THE CAPS United family believe they emerged stronger and a more united force from the no-holds-barred meeting that was called by the Harare giants yesterday to find solutions to their troubles.

The indaba, which was attended by the club’s management led by club president Farai Jere, chief executive officer Charlie Jones, the national executive of the CAPS United supporters and representatives from their various chapters, Makepekepe fans some of whom came as far as Hwange, attracted almost a full house at Queens Hotel in Harare.

The team’s coach Lloyd Chitembwe and some members of his technical team, as well as former chief executive officer Cuthbert Chitima, were also part of the meeting.

After the deliberations, Jere said he was confident of turning around the corner when the second half of the season kicks off this weekend with a home match against ZPC Kariba at the National Sports Stadium.

CAPS United’s challenges were more defined in the first half of the season. The meeting yesterday unanimously agreed that the problems were mainly financial.

Jere assured the Green Machine family that the “turbulence” will soon pass.

“This was good. You start to have a good feeling,” said Jere soon after the indaba.

CAPS United fans raised various issues during the meeting which include the need for the club to sign younger players, appointment of club scouts, lack of sponsorship, unavailability of official club replicas and merchandise, the need for membership drive, unity and respect and the need to have meetings frequently. The supporters also raised the issue about results, which have not been coming of late.

CAPS United Supporters Association National chairman Masango Ruzani said the indaba, which was called by his constituency, was fruitful.

“As supporters we had many things which needed clarification. We normally have these meetings where we get feedback from the leadership and we felt it was important that they should come back to us again and they also get to hear what fans think.

“It’s good for supporters, some of whom came as far as Hwange just for this meeting and it shows the importance of such engagements.

“All the key people in leadership were there to answer the burning questions from the supporters. So after this meeting we now need to move forward as one united family,” said Ruzani.

Whilst acknowledging the challenges they are facing as a club, the Green Machine’s president Jere said some of the issues were blown out of proportion and the discord was further fomented by social media. Jere said the meeting was beneficial for all stakeholders.

“In this day and age, a lot of information is distorted through social media and there is a time when you need people to be together in one room to discuss and after that we all start seeing things in their proper perspective.

“Supporters are quite an integral part of the team. Meeting them and them getting first hand information from the horse’s mouth, and not twisted facts, is key. So we are happy those that came now know where we are coming from and where we are going,” said Jere.

CAPS United are currently not in a good space. They ended the first half of the 2021/2022 season at an all-time low after matching the club record of six consecutive league defeats, which they experienced back in 2012.

The fans were not happy with the poor run, which also included the bitter 0-3 thrashing by sworn rivals Dynamos in the last match before the mid-season break.

As a result of their misfortunes, the Harare giants have managed only 17 points in as many games, and are 12th on the log standings halfway through the campaign.

Makepekepe also experienced off-field challenges which saw players boycotting the pre-season training earlier this year. The problem resurfaced when the players protested ahead of their clash with Cranborne Bullets to force the payment of their winning bonuses. Jere said the incident was a result of lack of trust.

“I tried my level best for people to understand that the biggest problem that we have at the moment is motivation and add to that we had new players coming in,” said Jere yesterday.

“I am sure every other organisation in Zimbabwe is facing cash flow challenges. But since most of the players that we have are new to CAPS United, the issue of trust becomes key.

“We’ve got a good team. We’ve got players in every position. It’s sad that sometimes we react out of emotion. And like I said, the most unfortunate thing is that some of these players are new and there was an issue of trust, which we are working on building.

“Players are owed winning bonuses for two games then they strike, it’s something that is unheard of. Of course the issue of trust comes in. These guys were coming from outside and it’s obvious they were shocked hence their response.

“But we have been addressing the issues. Right now I can tell you some of the guys are even cursing themselves. So it’s a question of mindset and trust. We have to sit down with them and address the challenge.

“We know our problem. We need to build the trust; we have to work hard to get the money so that they are motivated.

“I am sure the second half of the season is going to be different because of this meeting. We can now all pull in one direction because we are all seeing things from an informed position. We need to move forward as one people,” said Jere.

“CAPS United is a very big brand. We actually need to rise from where we are and obviously that means we have to start winning matches.

“The big question is not about bringing in new players. That’s not what we want to do. It’s about motivating those who are there because they can do the job.

“It’s not like we have guys who haven’t won anything. They have won some matches and they only need to be motivated and to be spoken to from time to time so that we put them in the right frame of mind. The team is there but motivation is always key and that’s our responsibility.

“We are working on it flat out to make sure the boys are motivated so that we give them the confidence and trust. His is the big task which we need to do because these guys are family men. They need to put food on the table, they need their welfare to be looked at,” said Jere.

CAPS United have appointed club legend Charlie Jones as chief executive officer and the former winger has been tasked with looking into welfare issues and engineering sponsorship deals. *Herald*

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