A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the much-anticipated Harare derby pitting archrivals Dynamos and CAPS United set for tomorrow after it emerged yesterday that the impasse between CAPS United players and management over money has not been resolved.
By Our Staff
CAPS United players on Thursday boycotted a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match against How Mine in Bulawayo. The former Cup Kings are yet to resolve the standoff, which makes the much-awaited derby doubtful.
According to sources at The Green Machine, only 19 players who were on the How Mine game team sheet were paid money ranging from $300 to $600, which is just a fraction of the amount the players are owed. The players travelled to Bulawayo for the How Mine encounter, but refused to play and returned to the capital just before kickoff.
The players are said to be owed three-month salaries while others are owed allowances backdating to 2013. Other players are yet to get their signing on fees.
So, the success of tomorrow’s derby hinges on the meeting which the CAPS United management had with players yesterday in a bid to convince them to fulfill the DeMbare fixture.
Standardsport was not privy to the ongoings at the meeting as all CAPS United officials were not answering their phones with chairman Twine Phiri’s phone not reachable, while team manager George Gumbo’s phone went unanswered. Club chief executive officer Joe Makuvire was also not available.
However, team spokesperson Joyce Kapota said the club management had paid players their March salaries and hoped that the derby would go ahead as scheduled.
“It is unfortunate that the club deposited the money in players’ accounts on Thursday morning so they could not access the money on that same day. But I can assure you that the players have since accessed their money,” Kapota said.
Kapota said she was confident that tomorrow’s match would go ahead.
“We have broken the hearts of our fans already by failing to fulfill the How Mine fixture. There is therefore no room for errors again.”
Asked to clarify whether the money paid included some of the outstanding dues, Kapota said she was not at liberty to discuss the issue and referred this publication to the club finance manager, who was not reachable.
Kapota apologised to CAPS United fans who travelled to Bulawayo for the aborted match.
“CAPS United is a big club that has a huge following. We know a lot of fans travelled to Bulawayo to cheer the boys. We hope this will not happen again. We really want to apologise to our fans and sponsors for such an embarrassing thing,” she added.
The match was supposed to be screened live on the Supersport 9 channel.
An insider said CAPS United players trained on Friday at the giant National Sports Stadium and were scheduled to have an afternoon training session at the same venue yesterday.
The Green Machine started the 2015 soccer season on a high note, winning their two opening matches, 2-1 away to Whawha in Gweru before beating FC Platinum at home, courtesy of a Ronald Pfumbidzai solitary goal.
Had they played How Mine and won, they could be sharing the same spot with city rivals DeMbare at the apex of the log table, to maintain their unbeaten run.