Unpacking the crisis at CAPS United: What is going on?


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The last few weeks have been hard for anyone who loves CAPS United.

The Harare giants, that is if they can still be called that, have made headlines for the wrong reasons and one can’t be blamed for thinking the worst is yet to come.

Insiders have revealed that Makepekepe players were last paid in April — salaries they have repeatedly but unsuccessfully tried to have reviewed.

Their league game against Cranborne Bullets last month, started nearly 45 minutes late, as the players embarked on a strike over outstanding salaries.

The paltry crowd at the National Sports Stadium was treated to free drama, as the CAPS team coach arrived with only the technical team and officials on board.

Since that fiasco, which saw the club dismissing three players for supposedly masterminding the strike, the Green Machine has lost five games on the trot and failed to score in any of them.

Captain Ronald Chitiyo ditched them.

Rooney, as they refer to him in the green half of the capital, has since joined ambitious Northern Region Division One side Simba Bhora.

In an attempt to have better day to day running of the club, club legend Charlie Jones was appointed Chief Executive Officer but that, for now, has not changed anything.

Barely a week after Jones’ appointment, the team’s trip to Bulawayo, for a date with Bulawayo Chiefs at Luveve, was delayed because players were refusing to travel, in protest over outstanding salaries.

Only 15 players then travelled and inevitably, they lost the match.

That 0-2 loss was the first time Chiefs beat CAPS since the former gained promotion into the Castle Lager Premier League.

The Harare derby against Dynamos was then seen by many, as the chance for Makepekepe to find their groove again.

It was the perfect opportunity for them to get things right and boost their confidence going forward.

Simba Ndoro, the owner of Simba Bhora, whose love for CAPS is not a secret, promised the players money if they beat their cross-town rivals.

He was even at the National Sports Stadium on the day of the game and presumably, he had the money on him. But the body language of CAPS players before the game portrayed a vivid picture of the crisis at the club, which no monetary pledge would solve.

They simply lacked belief. The game was one-way traffic and for the first time since 2016, Dynamos scored three goals past CAPS.

Interestingly, CAPS coach Lloyd ‘Lodza’ Chitembwe has reiterated that the blame is on him and the players, and not on any administrative issues.

Whether or not that is a Fadza Mutengi narrative is a debate that can go on until the cows come home, but one thing is for sure; the CAPS supporters disagree.

They insulted club president Farai Jere and his deputy Nhamo Tutisani after the loss to Dynamos and demanded the duo sells the club.

None of them mentioned Chitembwe, meaning they believe the problem lies in the way Jere and Tutisani are running the club, rather than how Lodza is coaching the team.

Picture: Knowledge Chingwecha