Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter—-
CAPS United appear to be quickly reaping the benefits of engaging Mark Harrison as their head coach after a South African firm, Zing, was unveiled last night as the Green Machine’s new main sponsors. Harrison, who has worked extensively in South Africa, has a number of contacts in that country. Zing promised to bring high levels of professionalism and years of success at the Harare giants as part of the sponsorship deal between the South African mobile technology developer and CAPS United.
The company was unveiled as the Green Machine’s flagship sponsors yesterday in a one-year deal that puts the total management of the club into the hands of the Durban-based company.
The sponsors, who have an option to renew at the end of the season, have seconded their general manager, Sean Lapin, to take over as the general manager at Makepekepe.
Lapin will work hand-in-hand with the club’s chief executive, Joe Makuvire, to help establish more professional structures that will put the Harare giants in a position to generate a lot of revenue.
Zing representative Bruce Warren said it was difficult to come up with the total value of the deal, but the sponsors will work with the club’s budget for the whole year, which is in excess of US$850 000.
Zing have also committed to help the club offset their debts and paying the players what they are owed.
Warren said the deal was not a bail-out package, but a way to see that Makepekepe find their feet and turn into a more professional club that should be able to raise significant revenue in the future and operate profitably.
“We are coming into CAPS United to fix up football in our way, to make it entertaining and exciting, to make it something to aspire to go back to as a social occasion.
“It’s not just football, it’s more than that.
“There are a lot of plans that we have got and Zing is coming in to oversee the management of the club. My only motto that I am going to instil into CAPS United is professionalism.
“This is not an amateur club; there is money involved, so we need to be professional and that’s how we are going to treat it.
“I expect it from the management, the players, the coaches and anyone involved with the club. We are a professional outfit.”
CAPS United will this year wear branded jerseys courtesy of Zing.
Club president Twine Phiri hailed their partnership with Zing and assured his players that they will now get their salaries on time, starting this month.
“Let me start by telling the boys that their salaries will be on time. Zing are coming in to assist us with sponsorship. They are the main sponsors for our club, we are in partnership.
“Zing and CAPS United are in business and we are going to run it as a business. The partnership will go a long way. I want to assure Bruce and company that CAPS United will not disappoint you.
“And also speaking in my capacity as chairman of the league, Zing mustn’t just look at Makepekepe, but could also go and look for avenues at other clubs,” said Phiri.
Warren said they have brought their own man to ensure that they achieve their vision with CAPS United.
Lapin will be responsible for the running of Makepekepe, together with Makuvire.
“We have identified Sean as the perfect person to come to CAPS United. He is basically going to be the general manager for Zing and for CAPS United.
“He is going to lead the club through the transition phases alongside Joe (Makuvire). The two will work hand-in-hand; they have been working together for three days and there has been already a lot of changes implemented for the good.
“This year, obviously, we want to do well. I always want to win; that is my nature and I desire only first place.
“If we do not succeed I want us to be right up there, but most importantly to be competitive.
“Our immediate goal next year is to win the league and I will make it a bold prediction that we will win the league and thereafter go into Africa.
“There is no reason why a Zimbabwean club cannot compete at the highest level in Caf and be champions in Africa,” said Warren.
Zing are also looking to invest more into development structures.
Makepekepe’s junior policy was almost dead because of lack of resources, but the club had this year assigned former Mighty Warriors coach Johannes Chikaola to their development structures.
“My philosophy, which, as agreed by Mark (Harrison), is that we are going to put a lot back into youth development.
“Football is not about 15, 16 or 17-year-olds coming through. It’s about 10, 11-year-olds being nurtured to be great players. We are going to start from the bottom going up.
“At the moment, everybody is looking up and further upwards. At the 15, 16, 17 stage, it’s a bit too late.
“I am not saying they cannot be great players, but am saying we need to unearth the talent right at the bottom.
“That is going to be our goal. As soon as we have solidified and stabilised the club, we are going to be focusing on the youth.
“That will be the main goal so that going forward in the future we know that we have talent coming through and that will be the backbone of the club,” said Warren.
Harrison also addressed the gathering, while the club also paraded former Highlanders midfielder Joel “Josta” Ngodzo as their latest acquisition.
Ngodzo will feel at home since Mark Mathe, who coached him at Bosso last year, is now Harrison’s assistant at CAPS United.