The Mutare-based outfit has been expecting sponsorship packages from different companies that are harnessing diamonds in the town to strengthen their cheque book ahead of the transfer window, but all their efforts have been hitting a brick wall.
The army side conducted their trials a fortnight ago at Pavilion Grounds with more than 60 players attending. From these players, the technical department led by head coach Shadreck “Father” Mugurasave, assisted by Sicho Masachi, shortlisted six players who could be signed before the start of the new soccer season. The six players include former Highlanders and Masvingo United striker, Takunda Mapara and his teammate at Masvingo United, Beven Chirere.
Other players who are trying their luck at the army side are former Eastern Lions and Monomotapa striker Marlvin Dumbura and two talented youthful players; Phillip Thembani and Liberty Chakoroma from Mutare’s Zifa Eastern Region Division Two team La Sakubva.
There is also Shepherd Ngata (Black Rhinos) and Never Musvipa from Bulawayo’s Chicken Inn.
Asked whether the technical team was going to do away with the bulk of the players who helped the team to gain promotion, Buffaloes assistant coach Sicho Masachi said the players have to compete for first team places to be among the list of 25 that will be registered with PSL.
“It is not automatic that you will get a jersey because you were here last year or just because you helped the team gain promotion. Players need to show what they are made of, especially this time of the year,” said Masachi.
“We will not pick players from the bedroom. There must be competition among the players themselves as this will improve the quality of the game.”
Buffaloes were promoted into the top flight league last season after emerging as Eastern Region champions. The club finished the season with 24 unbeaten matches but up until now, the army side is still struggling to put resources together to honour outstanding players in the just ended season.
“We are still in talks with some diamond companies and we really hope something will come out of it. It is unfortunate that we cannot divulge much at this moment until negotiations are finished,” Masachi added.
Buffaloes head coach Mugurasave also weighed saying he was geared to make thorough preparations for the 2012 premiership season and ruled out dreams of emulating FC Platinum who finished second in their maiden dance in the league. He said: “We are not in a rush to finish the season in the top five. We want to make sure that we are not relegated by the end of this season,” said Mugurasave.