The Herald (Harare)

18 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Jere Denies Bulls Deal

FARAI JERE has broken his silence and dismissed reports, linking him with a move to Motor Action, saying he has no immediate plans of owning a stake in any football club in the domestic Premiership.

The Harare businessman told The Herald yesterday that reports linking him with either a multi-million dollar takeover of the Mighty Bulls, or the acquisition of a substantial stake in the club, were not true.

Jere said his financial advisor, Godfrey Mathanda, widely quoted in reports linking him to the Motor Action deal, did not issue the statement with his blessing and had been cautioned for doing so.

On Saturday Mathanda officially wrote to Jere apologising for the damage that the reports have created, especially against a background where the former CAPS United vice-president had not entered into any pact, and doesn't intend to do so either, with any local Premiership club.

Jere said the reports had created an impression that he was desperate to come back into mainstream football administration, did not have a heart for a CAPS United project that has been a big part of his life and, crucially, painted the false picture that he had a fortune to spend on football even in a club that he did not support.

His heart, he said yesterday, lay with CAPS United, the club of his childhood dreams, and his investment into the team was driven by a romantic passion, nursed from his days as a boy growing up in Chitungwiza, to help the Green Machine become the best football club in Zimbabwe.

Having invested US$1,4 million into CAPS United, in the past seven years, Jere said it was grossly unrealistic to suggest that he could now have US$1 million to plough into Motor Action to acquire a stake in the club.

The challenges that had driven him from his role as a CAPS United director, said Jere, were both legal and complex but they hadn't dissolved his passion for the club to suddenly make him a man who could invest in the ownership of another team.

The Harare businessman said his present challenge was to recover the 25 percent stake that he has in CAPS United and the US$1,4 million that he invested, over seven years, and anything else, in terms of football, had to wait for now.

"I don't have any intentions to come back into football any time soon," Jere said in a statement released yesterday.

"Yes, they say once in football, always in football but not any time soon.

"I don't know where Mathanda got all this story."

The Harare businessman confirmed that he was approached by Motor Action director, Eric Rosen, to consider acquiring a stake in the club.

But he says he turned down the invitation, which should have ended the story, rather than feed the conspiracy that he was moving in to take a stake.

"For the record, l'm not joining Motor Action or any other club," said Jere in his statement.

"Motor Action director, Eric Rosen, approached me at my Eastlea offices with a partnership proposal.

"I told him that l still have to finish my issues with CAPS United.

"I have to first recover my 25 percent shareholding in CAPS United and recover my US$1,4 million."

Jere said Harare lawyer, TK Hove, who also represents the PSL in legal matters, was handling the issue.

"TK Hove is working on recovering my 25 percent shareholding in CAPS United which disappeared in his offices," said Jere.

"That is his issue to recover those shares.

"Only after recovering, dispossing of those shares and recovering my US$1,4 million, which l invested in CAPS United from 2005 to the end of the 2012 season, that is when l can move forward.

"I can't lose all that and keep quiet. (You can also) see an email from Mathanda apologising for talking to the press, on my behalf, without my consent.

"I just wake up to find such a damaging article in the paper."

Jere said the reports, claiming that he had joined Motor Action, had led to people questioning his commitment to CAPS United.

"You suddenly have people questioning if you were at CAPS for the business or for the team and if you can cross boundaries so easily, they have a right to ask such questions," said Jere.

"Let me put it loud and clear that l was at CAPS for the love of my team, there is no money to be made sponsoring football in Zimbabwe, but a lot of money will be lost along the way.

"I was a CAPS supporter before l became a CAPS administrator, CAPS runs in my blood, that is my team, and l went in there because l wanted to do that. For the record, l bought a car for a player, just to make him stay at CAPS in 2004, before l had assumed any leadership role at the club.

"No one approached me to support CAPS, it's something l was born with, and even at this difficult time, with all that has happened to me, they are still my team and l wish them well because l just feel happy when this team is winning and doing well."

Jere said it didn't sound right, at a time when newspapers were full of reports saying CAPS United were battling financially, to paint him as someone who had a million dollars to splash into another team.

"It's just not right because it creates this impression, in some circles, that l'm either heartless or l'm trying to be a showman, when l'm not neither heartless nor showy," said Jere.

"It's important to understand that l have players at CAPS United, whom l brought into the team and who looked up to me to sort out their financial issues and you don't want them to feel that l am poking at them.

"I have people, who support this team, who believed in me and l don't want them to start thinking that l am trying to hit back at CAPS United by pumping a million dollars into another club.

"Let's just have my issues settled first and then we can move from there and the lawyers are working on it and let's give them the chance to complete their task."

Mathanda wrote to Jere on Saturday saying he was sorry for the damages inflicted by his public statements, which were certainly not a true reflection of what was happening between the businessman and Motor Action.

This followed a meeting he held with Jere in the capital.

"Thanks for the candid talk this evening, sincere apologies for any inconvenience that the NewsDay article may have caused you and your family," wrote Mathanda.

"Intentions were not bad but, like you rightfully said, the timing was bad because we have better things coming and we don't want the mood disturbed. I don't want anything that makes you angry or unhappy and l pray to God above that our relationship shall remain intact.

"Remain blessed in Jesus Christ," wrote Mathanda.

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