CAPS United and Dynamos are heading for a high profile pre-season collision as the two teams face off for Gunners striker Norman Maroto’s signature.
United are looking to mount a serious title challenge this term and have opted to waive their right to participate in this year’s Caf Confederations Cup to invest resources in moulding a potential championship winning side.
In their audacious bid for success, Caps have raided Gunners again for striker Maroto who is also a target for Harare giants Dynamos after signing defender Daniel Vheremu from the same team.
Caps United chief executive officer Maxwell Mironga would not shed much light on the Maroto issue but said that they had a number of players that they were targeting ahead of the new season.
“There are a number of players that we are interested in signing, but things will shape up later when we start training,” said Mironga.
Coach Moses Chunga has been looking to beef up his strike force after a season where they struggled for goals, having to rely on goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda’s dead-ball exploits.
Chunga has gone hunting for strikers and top of his wish-list is Maroto who he coached at Dynamos in 2002.
IndependentSport has learnt that Caps United, one of the better funded top-flight clubs in the country, could have participated in the less glamorous Confederations Cup but the club executive felt that such a move would distract their ambitions for the league title that has eluded them since coach Charles Mhlauri’s double in 2004 and 2005 and qualify for the chsmpions league..
At the beginning of the 2010 PSL season, Caps started off as favourites but went off track under then coach Lloyd Chitembwe.
Midway through the season, Caps lost six of their best players to the South African Premier League with Nyasha Mushekwi, Khama Billiart, Method Mwanjali, Tafadzwa Rusike, Lionel Mtizwa and Oscar Machapa all leaving the Green Machine.
Insiders at the four time champions revealed that the decision not to participate in the second tier continental showcase was not purely about money but was inspired by the desire to win the league championship and get an African champions league berth.
“The club president (Twine Phiri) felt it had been long before they stamped their authority on the local scene,” said the source. “He wants the championship and he wants the team to play in the Champions League so he thought it better to invest in winning the championship than use the meager resources in the Confederations Cup.”
The Caps executive decided to launch a serious title challenge and felt participation in the Confederations Cup would work against their title ambitions.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that the team has since secured the services of Martin Vengesai from Shooting Stars and have also made a move for Lengthens defender Steven Matangaise.
Caps last played in the Champions League in 2006 but failed to make it to the money-spinning mini-league phase where their Harare rivals Dynamos have become a regular member of the cast.
Caps have already been active on the transfer market where they have since acquired Gunners defender Vheremu and re-united with striker Washington Pakamisa.
The team was swift to visit the market for the January-February sales in preparation of the 2011 season which has provisionally been set to begin in the first week of March.
Caps finished a disappointing sixth on the log and are looking to reward their ferociously loyal fans with a league title this time on.
Caps are also targeting Highlanders full-back Zephania Ngodzo whom they also tried in vain to lure last season.