Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter—
CHAMPIONS CAPS United have launched an audacious bid to sign highly-rated midfielder Brett Amidu from bitter rivals Dynamos in what could spark a fierce bidding war between the Green Machine and FC Platinum. The Harare giants are also trying to bring in exciting midfielder Marlvin Gaki from Triangle. The Green Machine are strengthening their squad ahead of their return to the CAF Champions League next season where club president Farai Jere has set a minimum target of an appearance in the group stages of the tournament.
Brett shares the same agent with Gaki and yesterday preliminary talks between the duo’s management team and CAPS United were held.
The diminutive midfielder was one of the few bright spots for the Glamour Boys in a largely disappointing season for the record league champions who will close their 2016 campaign with a high-profile match against Highlanders at Barbourfields on Sunday.
The match is part of Bosso’s celebrations to mark the iconic Bulawayo club’s 90th birthday anniversary this weekend. Former Zimbabwe goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar could feature for Bosso in that showdown.
Brett is also being targeted by FC Platinum, but the player’s management appears to have given CAPS United the first option, with reports also indicating the midfielder wants to stay in the capital.
Negotiations between FC Platinum and Brett’s agent are underway. The younger of the two Amidu brothers, whose father Hussein was a star in his own right for Blackpool, is considered to be even more talented than his brother Amidu who was once signed by Kaizer Chiefs.
Some analysts believe he could be the next big thing in Zimbabwe football in the next few years. “There is no question about his raw talent and he could be a very, very big player if he keeps working hard,” legendary commentator Charles “CNN” Mabika, the host of ZTV’s weekly football magazine programme Game Plan, told The Herald.
“I think he is more talented than his brother, but he is young and let’s wait and see how he develops but the signs are looking good.” Brett was the man-of-the-match in a losing cause for Dynamos in the Harare Derby at Rufaro this year as he left veteran midfielder Method Mwanjali in the shade.
He was also outstanding for the Glamour Boys in the reverse fixture at the National Sports Stadium, showing his big match temperament, with two assists for Rodreck Mutuma and Masimba Mambare in a 3-3 draw. His performances in the two matches caught the attention of the Green Machine who believe he could provide the creative spark that their midfield badly needs.
With Gaki, on the wing, and Brett playing just behind the forwards, coach Lloyd Chitembwe would finally shift Simba Nhivi to play a role in the centre of attack after the forward spent most of this season playing wide on the flanks.
Nhivi scored seven goals, including the two goals in victories over Ngezi Platinum and Chapungu in the final two games of the season, which effectively sealed the Green Machine’s championship success.
Chitembwe believes Nhivi could thrive as a centre forward after regaining his confidence while playing wide on the flanks and scoring vital goals for the club of which six were for a winning cause and one helped them pick a point at Ngezi Platinum.
Gaki flourished for Callisto Pasuwa’s Under-23 side that qualified for the 2015 Africa Games after knocking out giants Cameroon in the countdown to the Congo Brazzaville Games. The 22-year-old Gaki’s contract with Triangle expires at the end of this month.
And the league’s new champions have not wasted any time opening negotiations with the midfielder with CAPS United looking at strengthening their squad as they make a return to the CAF Champions League after some years in the wilderness.
Gaki had a blinding game for the home-based Warriors when they met Zambia at the National Sports Stadium last month in a friendly international and emerged as the man-of-the-match in a 1-0 victory for the hosts.
He had been set to move to Tanzania and then Sudan but it appears CAPS United could hijack that deal. Gaki is one of the finest wingers in the domestic Premiership and, at the start of this season, opted to remain in the Lowveld when a number of players such as Hillary Bakacheza left for other clubs.
But he appears to have finally set his sights on a move to the capital after confining himself to the Lowveld for the past three seasons since moving to Chiredzi Football Club in 2014 and joining Triangle the following year.
Gaki is jointly managed by Takesure Chiragwi and George Deda but yesterday none of the two could be reached for comment. Lloyd Chitembwe said he could not divulge his wish list at the moment for fear of jeopardising the deals.
“Any coach would want a good player but at the moment, I cannot reveal any names. We have our targets as a club but until we tie up them we cannot reveal them. “You know other clubs, once you show interest in a player, they will share the same interest, so it is not wise to rush with names,” said Chitembwe.
The Coach of the Year added that he doesn’t believe his club is faced by player exodus. Players such as Dennis Dauda, Stephen Makatuka and Tafadzwa Rusike are believed to be eyeing moves from Makepekepe.
But Chitembwe is confident that he will retain 80 percent of his team. “I think the team would be more or like the same from the one we had this season. I don’t believe in rumours during the transfer period.
“Remember, even last season it was the same talk but we retained almost all the players,” he said. Chitembwe and his technical team are positive they will secure the signatures of all the players they want by December 31, the CAF deadline for registering players for the Champions League.
CAPS United have already expressed their interest in highly-rated Chapungu winger Xolisani Ncube and would want to take him on board.