Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
FORMER Soccer Star of the Year award winner, Dennis Dauda, has handed his ex-team CAPS United the first preference to sign him amid a flurry of enquiries from local teams.
Dauda, who won the 2014 Soccer Star of the Year accolade while still turning out for ZPC Kariba, arrived in the country from India on Monday.
The lanky defender spent four months on the books of United Sport in the Indian Premiership before he terminated the deal.
The Indian top-flight is being conducted in a cluster format and during his short stay, Dauda had helped his club reach the semi-finals of the Aifa Shield.
Before signing for the Indian side, the Zimbabwean had been on the books of Lusaka Dynamos and Napsa Stars in the Zambian top-flight, spending a combined three years playing for the two clubs.
But he has now decided to return to the domestic league with Makepekepe, Ngezi Platinum Stars and Black Rhinos all scrambling to get his signature.
Dauda on Tuesday trained with CAPS United, who conducted their first training session this year after weeks of uncertainty.
The Green Machine, who have been experiencing financial problems, have been in the news for all the wrong reasons over the past months after failing to pay salaries to their players since November last year.
Most of the players whose contracts expired on December 31 last year have decided against renewing their stay at the club due to the situation.
But there was a wave of fresh air at the National Sports Stadium’s B Arena as coach Lloyd Chitembwe drilled his new-look side for the first time in 2022.
And Dauda joined in before revealing to The Herald he was willing to ink a deal with Makepekepe although talks are still ongoing.
“I am aware that some clubs are after me and I am not saying no to any of them. But, at the moment I am training with CAPS United to keep fit as a player. I can confirm that talks are on with Makepekepe at the moment but nothing concrete has been agreed as yet,” said Dauda.
“CAPS United is one team that I will be associated with even long after I retire from the game. I am having talks with them and we will see what comes out of it. But this is just training that you are seeing. I am a footballer and I need to keep fit and that is exactly what is happening right now.
“I arrived from India yesterday (Monday) and I have to keep fit. I need to play in the local league once again and I have to train. I will see what comes out of the talks which we are having with CAPS United. I am also weighing my options as I speak.”
Dauda worked under Chitembwe in 2016 and 2017 before he joined Lusaka Dynamos.
He was one of the key figures in that Makepekepe side that won the league title in 2016 before making history by becoming the first CAPS United team to reach the group stages of the CAF Champions League the following year.
And now, as it was then, Chitembwe seems to be trusting the tried and tested players who have seen it all in the domestic league as he bids to win the league title.
Makepekepe players have not been fully paid what the club owed them since November last year but The Herald understands the employer has settled about half of that and made a commitment to clear the arrears by next week.
The development has created a normal atmosphere back at the Green Machine where two-time Soccer Star of the Year winner, Rodwell Chinyengetere, now calls home after his divorce with FC Platinum last week.
Former Harare City midfielder, Chibuku Super Cup’s top-scorer, William Manondo, has also signed with the club and the team now has one of the fiercest strike-force given Chinyengetere and Manondo could partner Clive Augusto, who has decided to remain at the team.
Some of the prominent players who were with the team last year and attended yesterday’s training session include Phineas Bhamusi while the likes of Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo were conspicuous by their absence.
Makepekepe are desperately in need of defenders given most of the players who deployed at that department have since left.
Carlos Mavhurume, Webster Tafa and Tafadzwa Jaravani have all left and the club needs solid defenders to build on.
The Green Machine will get the ball rolling in their outstanding fixture against Black Rhinos which they could not fulfil last year as their players embarked on an industrial action.