The mid-term transfer window opens on Monday allowing clubs to buy, sell, chop or change players in a season where the championship is up for grabs more than at any other time in recent seasons.
But not much spending is expected with some clubs experiencing financial difficulties, while others shudder at the prospect of huge price tags on most players to scare away the big boys.
No single club has yet made a clear and unequivocal clamour for the Castle Lager Premier League this term and even Dynamos, with a single defeat, is tucked inside the table with five points less than it had at the same time last season on 28 and is currently a single point behind leaders Highlanders.
Caps United have built a force on a shoestring budget and will not be expecting any big name arrivals despite glaring holes in midfield.
At this stage of the season every club has something to fight for.
Only three points separate the top six clubs while the relegation scrap can still provide twists and turns with the bottom club, Motor Action just four points from the safety zone.
Under such circumstances nobody will be willing to release their prized assets.
Dynamos has undergone significant re-modeling from last term while Highlanders has lined up in more or less the same manner and Chicken Inn has not changed and has been consistent.
Chicken Inn is increasingly becoming an authentic challenger and should not be discounted as it is tied at 29 points with Bosso having recorded four wins from its last five matches.
Highlanders has been trying in vain to reach the level of consistency it played on last season but is still at the top.
Caps coach Taurai Mangwiro said he is pleased his team is just a win away from the top despite problems faced so far.
“There has not been a dominant team and despite our problems this season we are just a game away from the top. This gives us a lot of encouragement going into the second round of the season,” said Mangwiro.
“The team at the bottom would require four or five matches to catch up with us but we need one win to catch up with the leaders. Expect lots of excitement and intense competition in the second half. Last year Highlanders were running away and Dynamos got stronger as the season wore on but this time the teams at the top have been losing points. The second half should be more exciting.”
Because of financial constraints, Mangwiro is not expecting any new signings but will chop and change his squad.
“We have Gerald Phiri and Benson Masauso who have been with us for the greater part of the season who have not been registered .
“We hope to bring them on board. I expect them to bring more life and competition for places. They are still on the youthful side which is a positive. They bring penetration and elimination which are their strengths as they can both eliminate opponents which is an area where on his day Rahman Kutsanzira is good at. Pride can also do the same.
Their season has been plagued by injuries. Tafirenyika took a knock at a time we thought he was coming back to his best so the coming in of these two can help our team”.
Mangwiro said even though he would have wanted to sign a holding midfielder and a left-back the club is financially crippled.
“We have tried Tendayi Samanja and Moses Muchenje as holding midfielders. The guys have not necessarily disappointed but it is a critical position where performance needs to be at a high level week in week out, but the guys have blown hot and cold.”
Dynamos are in need of reinforcements especially since there is a threat of losing three of their vital defensive cogs in centre back Partson Jaure, left back Ocean Mushure and holding midfielder Devon Chafa.
There are no funds for replenishments.
DeMbare are struggling to pay off Sidney Linyama’s US$10 000 transfer fee from Chicken Inn, yet they have an audacious plan to raid the same team for striker and the leading goal scorer Tendayi Ndoro during this window.
Dembare has paid half of Chicken Inn’s US$20 000 asking fee for Linyama.
Like Linyama, Jeremy Maurere from the DRC has been training with the team for the past six months and is registered to play for the club but his club (FC Lupopo) has been holding up for the payment of a $5000 transfer fee to issue his clearance. The Harare giants are yet to pay strikers Washington Pakamisa, Clive Kawinga and Alan Tavarwisa their signing on fees.
Coach Kalisto Pasuwa has been persuading the players to soldier on despite waning hope of getting their dues.
But DeMbare could be left deeply depleted if South African clubs chasing their stars come calling.
Byron Madzokere has been struggling with a back injury together with Linyama and Maurere; their situations need to be sorted out in this transfer window.
This week Pasuwa said they would ask the club executive to look at bringing in a couple of players as defensive covers.
“We are hoping that they can help us sort out the defensive troubles,” said Pasuwa. “The Linyama situation should be resolved so that we do not waste that slot, together with that of Jeremy. We need new players but that will depend on the availability of funds.”
We can be sure to see a transformed FC Platinum after they roped in Lloyd Mutasa who has a passion for a passing game.
After a dazzling start, the Platinum miners lost form and climbed down from the summit to fifth place on the table. Their problem area has been the midfield but they too will not go out splashing the cash as they are looking to promote some of their juniors in the Central Region Division One. They are set to re-sign striker Norman Maroto.
Monomotapa and Motor Action have both taken a nose dive with the former proving a pale shadow of the side that dazzled the fans with tiki taka.
Results have been hard to come-by with just five wins from 15 matches but they too should not expect blockbuster signings for obvious financial difficulties which have already resulted in industrial action.
Motor Action probably needs to be active more than any other club but unless they can get freebies they may well find it difficult to rise from the base of the log.
Highlanders will go on the prowl for strikers but they are singing the same song as most clubs about financial constraints which has forced the Bulawayo giants to hunt for players in the lower divisions.
Cleopas Dube, who has been plagued by injuries, is likely to be deregistered to create room for a new player.