AFTER holding the Castle Lager Premiership spellbound with their passing game, in the last stages of the season, Monomotapa yesterday began preparations for next year by holding trials at Alex Sports Club.
Monoz finished the league in fourth place while they also reached the final of the Mbada Diamonds Cup.
Monomotapa handed Highlanders their only defeat of the season as Bosso lost the title to Dynamos on goal difference.
The 2008 champions are still weighing their options of representing Zimbabwe in the Caf Confederations Cup next year.
Assistant coach, George Jojo, said they had an overwhelming response yesterday and he expects more players to come during the week.
"We had more than 140 players who came for trials," said Jojo.
"Our emphasis is on players aged between 18 and 23 years who could fit into our system.
"From the large numbers that came today (yesterday), we have shortlisted at least 40.
"This group should return for another assessment and we will also prune the numbers again."
Jojo said the door was still open for new players to come and fight for places.
"Maybe, some new players will come tomorrow (today) and we should give them a chance," said Jojo.
"On the other hand we will continue working with those already selected."
While Monomotapa are emphasising on Under-23 players, Jojo believes some players who came to try their luck were actually older.
"At the moment we are not looking much at their documents although we will need that as the programme goes on.
"Everyone is being afforded a chance to fight for a place during the trials.
"So no one is being turned away because of age but we want everyone to showcase their talents.
"But chances are very slim for players who are older to join our squad.
"Already we have experienced guys like Kuda Musharu and Tawanda Nyamandwe in the system," said Jojo.
Monomotapa could lose players like Ronald Chitiyo, Osborne Mukuradare and goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi who are understood to be under the eyes of hawks.
By the end of the week, Jojo is hopeful that they will have identified at least five players to join Monoz for next season.
"Last year we had nearly 400 people coming for trails but about six players were signed," he said.
Monomotapa identified Carlos Mesi, Issac Wade, Last Sithole, Zvikomborero Biseki and Timothy Pukunyani from a similar programme last year.
At the weekend, Jojo and his boss Biggie Zuze were at Kutama College where they assessed players who took part in the Robert Mugabe National Schools Under-20 Championships.
"Usually we always have our eye whenever there is potential talent to scout.
"But from these trials, it's not about the number of player whom we will take but the quality.
"It should not be a surprise if we get only four," said Jojo.