LOCAL SOCCER: Getting down to business: PSL clubs start preps for 2015 season

soccerHARARE City led the way, Dynamos responded and Caps United brewed a shocker as the top-flight sides geared for the pre-season, which gets into full throttle this week.

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2013 Soccer Star of the Year Tawanda Muparati is now a former DeMbare player, having sealed his move to How Mine, who have also snapped up Highlanders ’keeper Munyaradzi Diya, while dreadlocked midfield workhorse Tendai Samanja dumped Caps United for the hyperactive Harare City in a hectic off-season.

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The new-look Harare City football club, awakened by the near-fall of last season, have been one of the busiest on the market, snatching some of the biggest names on the domestic scene and will most likely draw much attention when they kick start their training tomorrow morning.

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Expected to turn up at the Sunshine Boys’ opening meeting is Soccer Star of the Year finalist Themba Ndlovu, the former DeMbare steely centre back whose partnership with veteran David Kutayuripo is awaited by many.

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Former Caps United goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube has also followed coach Taurai Mangwiro to City who are also reportedly targeting Hwange starlet Evans Rusike and out of contract central midfielder Devon Chafa.

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Defending champions DeMbare, who unveiled a youthful squad last Friday, also get down to serious business tomorrow under the guidance of returning coach David Mandigora who has taken over from record-breaking gaffer Kallisto Pasuwa.

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Highly-rated striker Kelvin Bulaji, who crossed the floor from bitter rivals Makepekepe, rising utility player Godknows Murwira who has joined from Shabanie Mine and former ZPC Kariba’s promising goalie Tonderai Mateyaunga will begin life at the demanding champions.

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DeMbare are yet to seal the signature of out of contract top striker Roderick Mutuma although the gangly forward’s manager Edzai Kasinauyo was yesterday optimistic a new deal would be struck “anytime from now.”

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Intelligent midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike, hot and cold winger Russel Madamombe and the influential Chafa are also still to renew their contracts while uncertainty still looms over the future of long-serving player and skipper Murape Murape, injury plagued Clive Kawinga and striker Simba Sithole.

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Also restructuring are Bulawayo’s big boys Highlanders who have axed seven senior players as new coach Bongani Mafu begins to flex his muscles.

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Reports emanating from the City of Kings suggest that veteran midfielder Mthulisi Maphosa, faded linkman Joel “Josta” Ngodzo, stocky striker Njabulo “JB” Ncube, dreadlocked Hillary Madzivanyika, central defender Dumisani “Fazo” Ndlovu, goalie Njabulo Nyoni and former Chiredzi winger Tapiwa Dephistara have all been shown the exit door.

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Bosso started their pre-season on January 5 without want away chief striker Charles Sibanda who has been linked with a move to the South African Super Diski the talented attacker has since resurfaced at Hartsfield rugby fields where Amahlolanyama are training.

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Across town, How Mine coach Luke Masomere is expecting newboys Muparati and Diya, the returning Benjamin Marere as well as unheralded 22-year-old former Masvingo United striker Leftara Ndale to turn up for training on Thursday when Chikurupati commence duty at the How Mine grounds.

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“I can confirm that Muparati is now a How Mine attacking midfielder, he will add the necessary experience to my squad.

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“As for Diya, no one doubts his capability. I needed cover for Ephraim Mazarura who underwent a hernia operation late November last year and is not expected back in action anytime soon,” said Masomere.

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Makepekepe, who unveiled 54-year-old nomadic English coach Mark Harrison last week, regroup this Wednesday as Fungai “Tostao” Kwashi, son of 1996 championship coach Steve, begins life in the dugout.

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Kwashi and the affable Brenna “Baba Gari” Msiska, who has once again bounced back, will assist Harrison as the Green Machine seek to rebuild their engine in the wake of a looming massive player exodus.

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Apart from losing the influential duo of Dube and Samanja, United will also be without the talented Bulaji while the likes of skipper Tapiwa Khumbuyani, Hardlife Zvirekwi and Ronald Pfumbidzai are also likely to depart.

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New manager George Gumbo and the club’s chief scout Josephat Rwafa embarked on a nationwide tour last week in search of players and are expected to conduct trials at Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza this week.

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Reliable sources at the club say Makepekepe have captured Shabanie Mine keeper Victor Twaliki as a direct replacement for Dube, while old boy Leonard Tsipa could also bounce back.

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Charismatic FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza began his 2015 programme last Thursday as the Zvishavane side braces for war on two fronts — the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League and the CAF Confederations Cup.

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New acquisitions Brian Muzondiwa, Emmanuel Mandiranga and Wellington Kamudyariwa turned up for duty.

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“We have to begin in earnest because we have a tough programme. It is good that all the players are in and tomorrow we start serious business,” said Mapeza yesterday afternoon.

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Newly-promoted sides Tsholotsho FC and Hwahwa Prison have been conducting trials for the past week as they brace for a tough outing with the big boys.

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Hwahwa coach Luke Petros and his advisor Lloyd Mutasa expect more players with Premiership experience to turn up for trials this week while Tsholotsho’s Lizwe Sweswe , who began his sessions last Tuesday, hinted that he might settle for lower league players as he seeks to beef up his squad.