SOMETHING is definitely wrong at CAPS United and in all the madness surrounding the Green Machine it is certainly hard to look no further than the club’s co-owners, Farai Jere and Nhamo Tutisani.
Events at Makepekepe for the past few years have mirrored those of a classical circus.
The chaos at United has been allowed to breed for years, and now it is reaching boiling point.
Only in 2019, CAPS were frontrunners for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title, only to collapse in dramatic scenes. The ailing Harare giants, that season, surrendered the championship on the very last day of the season to eventual winners FC Platinum.
The climax of the anarchy was when head coach Lloyd Chitembwe quit the club in a huff as United were closing in on the title, amidst rumours of a tiff with Tutisani.
Coupled with player discontent over winning bonuses, CAPS then lost their last two games to Ngezi Platinum and FC Platinum to throw away the title and disappointingly finish in third place.
And in all this, Makepekepe have no one to blame for their downfall but themselves.
No ball was kicked in the 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, yet still United dominated the headlines for the wrong reasons as players and officials were engaged in running battles over outstanding salaries.
CAPS’ misery was compounded as principal sponsors NetOne pulled the plug on their partnership with the cub.
With shallow pockets, the 2021-22 season expectedly saw a mass exodus of players. The comic relief of the opera was opening the season with a trip away to ZPC Kariba without a head coach.
That was early indication of the kind of shambolic season United were going to have and we see this week-in-week-out. Professionalism has been thrown out of the window in sheer frustration on the part of the long-suffering players.
Last weekend, players nearly refused to board the team bus for a league match in Bulawayo. It is not the first time this season that such a public display of rebellion has taken place as players resort to every means possible to publicise their plight in case somebody hears their cries.
This does not portray such a club like CAPS in good light, and on the whole it is not a pretty picture for Zimbabwean football in general.
It is absolutely disgraceful that a club of CAPS United’s stature can drag football back to the dark era of amateurism, where it is somehow normal for players and officials to literally chase each other around for money.
This season, United’s president Jere brought back coach Chitembwe to probably appease the fans, but life has so far been unbearable for the club legend, who has had the unenviable task of working with a heavily disgruntled dressing-room.
Perhaps the most disappointing fact is that Jere is also the PSL chairperson. And you have, on one hand, his club fighting so hard to further tarnish the image of a league battling the demon of crowd trouble and hooliganism.
True, Makepekepe are not the only side struggling financially in this country.
But theirs has been a classic case of disaster management.
It is time, perhaps, for Jere to leave his PSL role and redirect his energies to rescuing his own club.
When he was elected chairperson of the PSL four years ago, Jere made a plethora of promises to turn around the fortunes of the league. Alas, nothing has materialised.
Running a football club in a badly performing economy is not at all easy, but there comes a time when principles must never be sacrificed on the altar of expediency.
CAPS are on a terrible run of form, having lost the previous five games on the spin and are in dire need of both points and financial rescue.
A win against city rivals Dynamos this Sunday in the famous Harare Derby might not even camouflage the sad realities coming from the Green Machine’s camp.
How Jere and Tutisani will bring sanity to the Green Machine is anyone’s guess.
*Guest columnist Alwyn Mabehla is a former Daily News sub-editor and football writer. He keenly follows CAPS United and Zimbabwe’s top-flight league.