Yes, they have been battling money problems, but Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League champions Caps United will spend US$60 000 on just their Caf Champions League trip to Egypt. By Langton Nyakwenda
However, Makepekepe could be going across Africa without veteran striker Leonard Tsipa whose Caf license is yet to be processed.
Caps United leave on Wednesday via Ethiopia, and are expected to touch down in Cairo on Thursday – a day before they clash with Egyptian giants Zamalek in a Total Caf Champions League group phase encounter.
This is the first time Caps United are participating in the group phase, and also their first time to face Zamalek.
“Everything has been put in place and everyone is raring to go,” Caps United president Farai Jere told The Sunday Mail Sport yesterday.
The man in charge of Caps United’s day-to-day business, Cuthbert Chitima, revealed the team’s travel itinerary.
“The budget is US$60 000 and the team will leave on Wednesday via Addis Ababa before arriving in Egypt on Thursday. The funds have been secured and we are now just waiting for the departure,” said Chitima.
One problem Caps United might have is the possible absence of veteran striker Tsipa whose Caf license is yet to be processed after the club tried to register him for the group phase last week.
The 35-year-old Tsipa, the Castle PSL top scorer last season, was not registered for the preliminary stages as it looked like he was moving to Tanzania.
That move never materialised and Tsipa, who has recovered from a groin injury and resumed to training, is yet to get approval to represent Caps United in Africa.
If Tsipa is not cleared to play in Egypt, coach Lloyd Chitembwe will have to rely on Abbas Amidu, who has impressed as a makeshift number 9 in recent Castle Lager Premier Soccer League matches.
“Tsipa has been registered but we are still to get his license from CAF. We will push on Monday,” said Chitima.
Caps United are seeking to bolster their attack and have targeted three West African players.
Former Hearts of Oak attacking midfielder Wilson Andoh, who has also featured for King Faisal Babes and Berekum Chelsea in Ghana, arrived in Zimbabwe for trials on Friday night.
Andoh’s countryman Richard Addai – who scored 14 goals for Ghanaian Division One side Dunkwa FC last season,is also expected in the country; as is Nigerian Abasirim Chidiebere.
“Wilson is here in Harare but the other two players will only come (next) Friday. They were supposed to come on Tuesday but we felt it would be an unnecessary expense because the coach won’t have time to look at them because we will be in Egypt,” said Chitima.
Caps United are in Group B alongside five-time champions Zamalek, USM Alger of Algeria and Al Ahli of Libya.
After Zamalek, Makepekepe host USM Alger at the National Sports Stadium on May 23, and will be at the same venue again on June 2 for the Al Ahli clash.
The June 20 return leg against Al Ahli will be played in Tunisia because of safety concerns in Libya.
Zamalek come to Harare on July 1 before Makepekepe complete their mini-league campaign with a trip to Algeria for a date with USM Alger.
The top two teams in each group qualify for the quarter-finals, which begin in September.
Caps United are already guaranteed US$550 000 for making it to the group stage, and will get an extra US$100 000 if they qualify for the quarter-finals.
Winners of the 2017 Total CAF Champions League will pocket a cool US$2,5 million.