My heart bleeds for CAPS
One of the greatest players to ever emerge from the local scene is the late great Stanley “Sinyo” Ndunduma who achieved legendary status at CAPS United when he played alongside the likes of the late Shackman “Mr Goals” Tauro, Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa and Joel “Jubilee” Shambo (also late) among others.
I grew up a CAPS sympathiser because I believed in the way the team used to play, I grew up dreaming of playing for this great club and to continue the legacy left by my idol Ndunduma.
I played football up to Division One level but because I had to go to a mission school and the fact that this is Zimbabwe, you have to go to school first, I could not pursue my dream.
I was stuck deep in Chivi at Chibi High School and would only play football during holidays. But my love for football did not stop and that is probably why later on in life I became a sports reporter.
Sinyo inspired me, not because he was my namesake, but he was a fantastic player, rarely off form and a great professional.
Of course I also support two of the most successful football clubs in the world, the great Liverpool and Real Madrid.
I never got to meet my football hero Ndunduma face to face. I was however, lucky enough to meet, mingle and become friends with the late Tauro and Mtizwa.
Shambo was another great CAPS player — one of the best midfielders you can ever find.
Tauro, Shambo and Ndunduma must be turning in their graves — what has happened to the great club they made a household name in the 80s?
Where have the wheels gone off and what is destroying this great club?
These great players had their hearts in CAPS and were prepared to die for the club.
That is why CAPS could easily thrash Dynamos 7-0 and that is why Makepekepe became a household name in Zimbabwean football.
A number of players also came into the fold after the original CAPS legends had left. These include Gift Mudangwe, Silver Chigwenje, Basil Chisopo, Oscar Motsi, Charlie Jones, Carlos Max, Alois Bunjira, Stewart Murisa, Morgan Nkhatazo, Joe “Kode” Mugabe, Blessing Makunike, Leonard Tsipa.
Since CAPS was formed in the late 70s, a number of great coaches have been in charge with the likes of Freddy Mkwesha, Ashton “Papa” Nyazika, Steve “The Dude” Kwashi and Charles Mhlauri among others who were given a chance. CAPS United were a feared giant under the different reigns of these coaches.
I will dwell later on the impact of Kwashi and Mhlauri, two of the most successful coaches at CAPS, both of whom I happened to relate to closely during their time.
All the glory they brought has changed, what has gone wrong?
Twine Phiri, the CAPS president, is a close friend of mine and I know more than many people how passionate he is about this great but collapsing club called Makepekepe.
There were times when Twine would cry for his beloved club but the big question remains what has gone wrong?
Having been close to the CAPS family for many years before I decided to take a back seat some seven years ago, four issues come to mind — the administration of the club, the coaching, the supporters and the crop of players at the club.
CAPS was well-known for its brand of administration that was led by professionals and I am talking here of the administrations of Julius Chifokoyo and Shepherd Bwanya.
It is in administration where the team either wins or loses and I am sorry to say at the moment CAPS’ administration is not up to scratch and Twine must fix this immediately.
The club used to have a competent team of administrators, like the one led by Bwanya whose executive included the then secretary general Wellington “Hwezha” Dangarembizi.
Their job was administration only and with Kwashi as the head coach, they swept all before them and won the league championship in style. Where are Dangarembizi, Bwanya and Andy Hodges when the club is going down the drain like this? Will they please come out and help my friend Twine whom I know is in love with CAPS.
Bwanya and Dangarembizi’s style was simple and straight forward — they entrusted the team in players who had the team at heart, and coaches who believed in the Green Machine.
Twine, please change the administration of the team. I do not know much about this Max Mironga guy but please let us be serious and look for more competent people in the mould of Bwanya, Hodges and Dangarembizi.
We want an administration which resuscitates the junior policy where players grow up being CAPS United at heart first, players who will not easily give up especially when playing against eternal enemies — Dynamos.
Now the players who really had that zeal have all been sold. What is happening to this great club?
Now to the coaching staff.
I have very serious doubts the current set up has the capacity to pull the club from the current abyss.
Mangwiro arrived at CAPS at a wrong time when the club is beset by deeper-lying problems which do not allow him to show his true potential.
A coach like Mhlauri is probably the one who can quickly turn things around at the club and preserve their premiership status that is now in danger.
I know how Mhlauri was hounded out of CAPS but I will deal with this on another day but this is when the club completely lost the plot.
Mhlauri (by the way he is a close friend of mine) remains the greatest coach ever to occupy the hot seat at CAPS not because he is my friend but results are there for all to see.
Besides winning back-to-back league titles with an astonishing brand of attacking football, Mhlauri remains a cult hero at CAPS and if only the club could get a coach half his capacity.
Unfortunately, there is none in Zimbabwe. Besides the brand of football he introduced at CAPS, Mhlauri was very well educated and was switched on and deeply understood his football.
He was both a coach and an administrator — he came to CAPS with a new philosophy which worked well.
Besides introducing his brand of football coaching which even attracted thousands of supporters to his training sessions, Mhlauri also introduced to Twine, new methods of managing football.
He banned camping saying it was a waste of money, he did not believe in the primitive use of juju (juju does not work in football), he made players believe that they could beat even Barcelona and Real Madrid, he made players hungry to succeed and he made CAPS a feared giant.
That is why he would beat Dynamos easily even with a reserve team which at that time could beat any club in the Premier League. This is what is wanted at CAPS today and with due respect Mangwiro is not up to the task.
Kwashi, like Mhlauri, was also a great CAPS coach.
Thirdly, I want to focus on the players and to be honest I do not know a single current player at CAPS except big goalkeeper, Edmore Sibanda, whom I have seen turning out for the national team.
The rest I do not know and the simple reason they are probably losing matches is that they are not all really CAPS at heart.
That is why they can lose to Dynamos and not get affected, that is why they do not care whether CAPS wins or loses to start ups like Chicken Inn.
I attended one training session sometime this year and having been a footballer myself before, I simply concluded that not even one of them deserves to play for CAPS except, Sibanda whom I am not sure about his form now.
I remember the late Makunike would phone me after every loss and would be angry at himself and the whole team. These are the kind of players needed at Makepekepe. But now I am being told that players are being brought from all over and grouped around at the great club but without any commitment.
CAPS need to immediately go back to the junior policy which brought in the likes of Joe Mugabe, Morgan Nkatazo, Leonard Tsipa and many others.
Makepekepe need players who are lion-hearted not the current mercenaries who are masquerading as CAPS players.
And finally the supporters: These have suffered for a long time and will continue to suffer if what I have discussed above is not addressed.
I vividly remember that during the time when Bwanya was the CAPS chairperson, the club had a crop of supporters who would help the club morally and even financially.
I am talking here of the likes of Ben Chiondegwa, Cosmas Nyachiya, David Nyamweda and many others. They followed the team to Hwange, Gweru, Masvingo, Bulawayo.
These are not the only ones — there are many of them.
They have abandoned the club because it has gone off the rails. All these must come back to the club one day when things improve — not necessarily results on the pitch but when the approach changes.
For the supporters who move around with green leaves and vegetables supporting their team, it has been a painful journey but one that can be changed for the better in the way the club is being run. I hear to this day, the club administrators say the team has been affected by juju — please let us stop this nonsense — these things do not work and they belong to the Stone Age era.
Are we to believe that Real Madrid and Barcelona are the two best teams in the world because they use juju? NO.
I still believe Twine is the man to lead CAPS to glory once again. He did it under the Mhlauri era. Please Twine you know what to do, just do it.
For now, my heart bleeds for CAPS and millions more are in the same situation.
Twine please help the millions of CAPS fans who are suffering.
Also never appoint a coach with Dynamos blood. They will be happy to see the team lose. – This article was first published in the Daily News