Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
CAPS UNITED have started getting the rewards from their fans’ funding initiative with the supporters responding positively to the call.
The Harare football giants have been facing acute financial challenges for the better part of this year, resulting in unending strikes by their players.
The woes have been showing on and off the field of play with Makepekepe hanging precariously near the relegation zone.
And the club’s executive, led by chief executive Charlie Jones and head of media and marketing Raymond Gonte, last month launched a fan-funding initiative to try and resuscitate the coffers.
In line with international practices, Makepekepe met with 17 fan chapters spread across the country and officially opened the door for them to contribute towards player salaries.
The fans choose where they can fit as there are three tiers in which one can contribute.
The supporters can pour in a monthly contribution of US$200, US$400 or US$600 depending on their choice.
In return, they are guaranteed VIP seats at home matches and various other privileges with the club.
And two weeks on, the Green Machine have reported positives with Jones telling The Herald yesterday the initiative has started working.
“I am happy to confirm that the fan-funding towards the salaries initiative has started to bear fruit. We are extremely excited to announce that since the day we launched the initiative, the response has been overwhelming,” said Jones.
“These fans really love this club. I can tell you that we have already received substantial amounts from the fans. It’s so overwhelming. We have the support all over and the funds are coming.
“We are confident the contributions will take us far because what we want at the moment is to make sure the players get their salaries in time.
“This was a well-thought-out idea to try and plug the financial gaps we have at the club right now.
“Look, we have a huge following across the country and outside Zimbabwe. We thought about why we are not monetising the numbers and then we came up with this idea.
“We know CAPS United is a loved brand and people out there do not want to see the club struggling.
“We are happy that when we made the call, the fans were ready to give us a listening ear and we are seeing the positives already.
“Internationally-acclaimed clubs do the same. They survive from the numbers and we can take that direction while we continue to look for sponsorships and endorsements.”
Makepekepe are hoping to shrug off the bad boys’ tag that has seen their players persistently downing tools.
Yesterday, the team resumed training for their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie against Bulawayo City at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
The league took a one-week break over the long weekend as attention shifted to the Chibuku Super Cup preliminary matches played at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane on Saturday.
ZPC Kariba and Whawha proceeded to the last 16 with penalty shoot-out wins over Bulawayo City and Cranborne Bullets respectively.
Makepekepe coach Lloyd Chitembwe has been rallying his players over the months despite the apparent lack of financial motivation. But with the club’s fortunes starting to change, Chitembwe will be hoping his Green Machine will start to pick points consistently.
Prior to the one-week break, CAPS United had bagged three points against Whahwa in a match they showed their fighting spirit as they had to come from behind to secure the win.
And yesterday, Chitembwe drilled his team who will be hoping to continue with the winning streak.
Meanwhile, Dynamos return to Vengere for a date against Tenax on Sunday.
The last time the Glamour Boys played at the Rusape ground, they lost to Cranborne Bullets 1-0 and Tonderai Ndiraya and his charges will be hoping to leave with smiles on their faces this time around.
Tomorrow: Yadah v Whahwa (NSS)
Saturday: Cranborne Bullets v Ngezi Platinum (Vengere)
Chicken Inn v Harare City (Luveve)
Herentals v Highlanders (NSS)
FC Platinum v Black Rhinos (Mandava)
Sunday: Tenax v Dynamos (Vengere)
Bulawayo Chiefs v ZPC Kariba (Luveve)
Triangle v Manica Diamonds (Gibbo)
CAPS United v Bulawayo City (NSS)