Grace Cnhingoma Senior Sports Reporter—
CHAMPIONS CAPS United began their pre-season training at the National Sports Stadium yesterday, but it was a low key-event with a host of senior players missing out.
CAPS United have regrouped ahead of next month’s Champions League preliminary round clash against Lesotho champions Lioli on the weekend of February 10-12.
However, the first day back in office was marred by poor turnout by some of the senior players with veteran striker Leonard Tsipa, midfielders Devon Chafa, Tafadzwa Rusike, Phineas Bamusi, Kudzai Nyamupfukudza, Abbas Amidu and as defenders Stephen Makatuka, and Ronald Pfumbidzayi conspicuous by their absence.
Coach Lloyd Chitembwe was not amused by the of his players but indicated that he had excused some of them including Pfumbidzayi, who got married yesterday.
Amidu, who is yet to seal a new deal with CAPS United following the expiry of his contract on December 31, is said to be in South Africa.
Amidu’s manager George Deda said the player was in South Africa and there are also indications that the former Black Leopards midfielder is on a club-hunting mission in Vietnam.
CAPS United newboys — Ronald Chitiyo, Last Sithole and goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba — also joined their new teammates at yesterday’s training session.
But former Harare City midfielder Chitiyo only made a brief appearance with Chitembwe indicating that he had decided to give him a rest and had also given him a programme to follow.
Chitembwe said he has decided to give the creative midfielder two weeks rest following his off-season commitments with the national team, where he had been training with the African Cup of Nations enlarged squad.
Chitiyo was released from the Warriors along with four others, but after having featured for the senior team in a Boxing Day international friendly in Cote d’Ivoire, Chitembwe fears a burn out of the player.
“Ronald has been training with the Warriors and played a match (in Cote d’Ivoire) so we have decided to give him a rest of two weeks. He will join the rest of his team mates on January 16.
“But this does not apply to him alone, we will also look at Hardlife Zvirekwi’s case when he returns from the Africa Cup of Nations. Pfumbidzai and Bamusi also played for the Warriors last week so we are considering them too.
“We have made it clear though, to these players that they should report for training every day until their rest period is over,” said Chitembwe.
Few trialists are also trying their luck with the champions, with the coach indicating that they are still looking at signing players to register in the domestic league.
CAPS United have registered 25 players in the Champions League, but can still add five to their local league squad.
Chitembwe said one of the players they are likely to sign is striker Professor Wadyajena, who was not involved with mainstream football, but impressed the club when he was assessed before the season ended.