THEY kicked off the season with the ambition of winning the Castle Lager Premier League championship, but Caps United find themselves counting the cost of money squandered, with very little to show so far.
Predictions that Caps would win the league have since proved misplaced, as a string of poor performances have left their ambitions in tatters.
With half the season gone, Caps find themselves on a mission to arrest a poor run of form which has seen four straight defeats to Highlanders (1-0), Hwange (2-1) Dynamos (1-0) before the latest 3-2 defeat to Hwange.
Instead of challenging for the title, Caps’ task has become a more mundane one — salvaging lost pride amid a welter of criticism.
To many fans and commentators Caps appeared to have done everything they could to at least finally challenge for league honours, yet once the season got underway they proved to be a mediocre side despite the substantial financial investment. Club director Farai Jere has since branded it a waste of money.
“We made big investments, bought players and during pre-season we made trips to South Africa and Triangle, yet all that has proved to be money wasted,” said Jere.
Caps’ first financial setback was when they were duped out of US$27 000 by former Monomotapa duo of Daryl Nyandoro and Chris Samakweri, who misrepresented themselves as free agents only to return to their club TP Mazembe in the DRC without kicking a ball in United colours, having pocketed a hefty loot.
This was after they had hired a US$3 000-a-month manager from Ireland, Sean Connor, who repaid Caps with just 19 points from 16 matches and ninth position on the log.
The ‘Green Machine’ will have to fork out more in compensation after firing a bloated technical team that included a manager, coach Lloyd Chitembwe, trainer Kennedy Nagoli, welfare manager Joel Luphahla and two goalkeepers’ coaches in Richard Tswatswa and Brenna Msiska.
Caps also spoilt its top players with cars and high salaries while promising US$350 for every win, which however has gone unclaimed for the many losses. Jere said after so much money had been wasted on under-performing coaches and players, they had resorted to performance-based contracts.
In the Connor case Caps will pay what remained of a one year deal as the coach would have only extended his stay after a successful first year.
“We are now enlightened and we no longer dish out long-term contracts. We only offer short-term contracts that will only be renewed depending on results. We have had so many coaches that have left the club with hefty payouts despite underperforming.”
Jere however is optimistic that Caps will soon strike the right notes.
“Since Independence only two coaches have won the league title; the hiring of coaches is always a gamble. We hope that one day we will strike the right combination that can bring back glory.”
Money matters aside, Caps United begin life after a new coaching combination of Tau Mangwiro assisted by Mkhupali Masuku, but could these changes give birth to the elusive success?
Mangwiro has so far won the hearts of many with his humility, but fans will demand results. His first mission is against a confident Highlanders hat has led the league from start to date.
Bosso, in contrast to Caps, has worked on a much leaner budget but made good use of meagre resources.
The two teams clash at Rufaro stadium tomorrow with Caps seeking revenge after a 1-0 defeat in the first match.
How Mangwiro will set out his charges is difficult to predict, but he is likely to put faith in the trio of Rahman Kutsanzira, Shingi Kawondera and striker Leonard Fiyado.
After hitting Quelaton for seven in their last match Bosso know they face a much tougher task, but they will still fancy taking maximum points away to a team low in confidence.