15 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Caps Look to Zambia

HARARE giants CAPS United's grand scheme to get the team back on its feet next year appears to have got off the ground with revelations that the Green Machine have concluded deals with Zambian international goalkeeper Kalililo Kakonje and former Under-20 striker Jeffrey Kapelwa.

Officials yesterday confirmed that Makepekepe, who had a disappointing outing in the just-ended season, are eyeing another defender from across the Zambezi to beef-up their squad for next year.

The bid for the players was initiated by the club's outgoing director Farai Jere, who carried out the negotiations before he decided to walk away from the Harare giants.

CAPS United chief executive Maxwell Mironga confirmed yesterday that the players could be on their way to Harare when they begin their preparations in mid-January.

Kakonje was in Harare last month while 21-year old Kapelwa was recommended by former coach Taurai Mangwiro following a successful trial stint with the team back in September.

Kapelwa was part of the Zambia Under-20 squad that won the Metropolitan Cosafa Under-20 tournament last year under Keegan Mumba.

"We have talked to three players in Zambia and, yes, that goalkeeper is one of them," said Mironga.

"We may not be able to get all of them but I am sure at least two will be coming to CAPS United.

"In terms of contractual issues, we have agreed on virtually everything and I can say the deals are about 90 percent complete.

"We are only left with one or two things that are outstanding." A source at CAPS United said the players had agreed to separate two-year deals.

Kakonje, who has made over 19 appearances for Zambia's Chipolopolo, is coming from Super Division side Napsa Stars.

The 27-year old, who was recently recalled to the national team for their preparations for the African Cup of Nations, has vast experience with top teams in Zambia such as Power Dynamos, Nkana Red Devils and Lusaka Dynamos.

He also played for African giants TP Mazembe in 2011 and had stints with South African sides Golden Arrows, Amazulu and Nathi Lions.

Kakonje, however, missed a large part of the second half of the MTN Super League with an ankle injury, leading him to lose his national team place as Kennedy Mweene's understudy to Joshua Titima. He is set to fill the void left by Edmore Sibanda who had been sacked by the club before getting a life ban for his alleged involvement in the Asiagate scandal.

Mironga said the coming in of the Zambians does not affect their new thrust that seeks to build on a new foundation based on youth following their dismal run in the previous seasons. The Green Machine has also lost some of their senior players like Evans Gwekwerere to Botswana and the quartet of Sibanda, Marvel Samaneka, David Sengu and Nyasha Mukumbi, who were shown the exit on disciplinary grounds.

"The Zambians are good players. It's not conflicting with our new policy (to bring them to CAPS) because the other player is only 21 years old.

"We should forget about the 2012 season and focus on the future. We are working together with the technical team to build a strong team.

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