CAPS United begin pre-season training on January 16 as they seek to ready themselves for a mission to end a four-year trophy drought in the coming 2013 Premier Soccer League season.
REPORT BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
In a terrible season last year in which they finished on an unfamiliar 10th position, the fading giants also failed to provide a single player on the Soccer Stars of the Year calendar for the first time since 2006.
They are now preparing to launch an assault on the league title and knock-out competitions but however, regroup a little bit later than all other clubs who start the ball rolling this week. Indications from club president Twine Phiri are that they will not camp outside the capital like last year when they set a base-camp in Chiredzi.
Phiri also said they had stuck with youthful coach Mkupali Masuku, while they have made no changes to the rest of the technical team.
Their 2013 aspirations have already been underlined by what appears to be an ambitious chase of more than 15 new players.
If they manage to acquire most of their targets, they are likely to have a completely new-look squad which could be a drawback to continuity.
United are keen on young Tatenda Talents from South Africa’s Supersport/Tottenham Hotspur Academy and Soccer Star of the Year finalist Kuda Mahachi.
They are said to have opened negotiations for the services of the Monomotapa trio of Tawanda Nyamandwe, Hillary Mugoniwa and Tendai Ngulube, as well as Blue Rangers striker David Temwanjira.
Norest Mukwezvaramba who was on a season-loan to Blue Rangers has been recalled, while Gunners trio of Wellington Kamudyariwa, Moses Muchenje and Willard Gondo are on their radar.
CAPS have also stretched their hunt to Zambia where they are bidding for Jeff Akapelwa who impressed during a trial stint last year as well as goalkeeper Kalililo Kakonje who is currently with the Zambian Africa Cup of Nations squad.
While training begins next week, new acquisitions are set to be officially unveiled at a Press conference to be addressed by Phiri on Thursday.
There have been reports that the club executive has been imposing players on the technical team but Phiri quickly moved in to pour cold water on the rumours.
“Recommendations for players have been left entirely in the hands of the coaches and we only provide resources for the acquisitions,” said Phiri.
Formerly famed as “Cup Kings”, United would be in search of their first piece of silverware since November 2008 when they overpowered Eastern Lions 3-0 to lift the CBZ FA Cup.
It was a glorious year for CAPS who had also decorated their trophy cabinet with the BancABC Sup8r Trophy that they had bagged two months earlier, after dispatching the now defunct Lengthens 2-1 in the final.
Now, in a year they would be celebrating their 40 years of existence, the Green Machine are seeking a turnaround in their fortunes and live to their hyping as one of the country’s traditional football institutions.
CAPS’ assistant coach Brenna Msiska who himself is a club legend said they would want to quickly forget last season’s nightmarish outing and this season would chronicle the awakening of a sleeping giant.
“Last season is now water under the bridge and we would like to forget about everything. It is high time we go back up there on top as a giant,” Msiska said.
After what began like a promising season last year following the acquisition of quality players and the hiring of Northern Irish coach Sean Connor in a technical team that also included equally respected Lloyd Chitembwe and Kenneth Nagoli, CAPS’ fortunes however sank.
Connor and understudies did not last the season amid allegations of sabotaging the team amongst them.