Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
CAPS United’s Edmore Sibanda says his ban from football for his alleged role in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal was the darkest moment in his life. The big goalkeeper, though, is determined to put those dark days behind his back as he looks to resuscitate his career at his old club. The 29-year-old shot-stopper yesterday said he wants to turn back the hands of time this season and has promised the Makepekepe family to expect the best from him.
“It was hard, but I believe they (ZIFA) made decisions they thought were best for Zimbabwean football,” said the ‘keeper. “It’s just unfortunate that they were wrong as it came out in the end but they did what they thought was the best. I just take it as water under the bridge now. I have to move on.
“No hard feelings.
“I was training alone and I think I was lucky to have friends who were there for me. The likes of (Oscar) Machapa, Nyasha Mushekwi, Tafadzwa Rusike, Method Mwanjali and a lot of other guys stuck with me and they helped me cope.
“I also want to thank Prophet (Walter) Magaya. He did his best to make sure I play again.” The big goalkeeper is one of CAPS United’s returning players who also include left-back Ronald Pfumbidzai, Gilbert Mapemba and Tafadzwa Rusike.
Mapemba and Rusike are still to sign, though, but they are expected to get two-year contracts each before the end of the week. CAPS United have also signed midfielders Abbas Amidu, Allan Gahadzikwa, Cabby Kamhapa and ex-ZPC Kariba defender Dennis Dauda.
Sibanda told The Herald that he cannot wait to be on the pitch again for his old club. “I believe fitness can desert you but talent is an in-born thing. I am still that same goalkeeper you knew. So, first and foremost, I want to resuscitate my career and to get back to my best form this season.
“But I will not put myself under unnecessary pressure.
“I want to enjoy playing football because it wasn’t easy being kept away from the game you love the most for two years seven months.
“Football has been and will always be part of my life, so I am just relishing the opportunity to play again,” said Sibanda.
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe believes the goalkeeper still has what it takes to play in the Premiership and is hoping his experience will help Makepekepe in their quest for glory.
The Green Machine continued with their pre-season training yesterday with high hopes that former Dynamos midfielder Devon Chafa will put pen to paper before close of business.
Team manager Shakespeare Chinogwenya said they are also looking to wrap up deals with Mapemba and Rusike.
“For Chafa there are high possibilities that he will be joining us. We have agreed almost everything and probably today (yesterday) he will sign the papers. As for Tafadzwa I think it should be done by Thursday,” said Chinogwenya.
Chitembwe said he is happy with the players at his disposal.
The coming back of Mapemba and Pfumbidzai could result in young Romario Matova being loaned out to their feeder club Gunners this season.
“Honestly speaking there is never a coach who is satisfied with the squad that he has and I am not an exception but we are decent in terms of quality and so far so good.
“It’s the responsibility of every coach to make sure that he works on improving his squad so I am no exception. I will also try and improve on the squad, especially the squad that we have.
“I am sure this squad will take care of things up until the June mid-season transfer window. For now we are done with the transfers.
“The target is to try and do well, better than we did last year. That is a realistic target and I am sure that’s achievable,” said Chitembwe.
Makepekepe finished fifth last season and this year they will be trying to challenge for the league title they last won in 2005.