Eddie ChikamhiÂ Sports Reporter—-
CAPS United appear to be quickly reaping the benefits of engaging Mark Harrison as their head coach after a South African firm, Zing, was unveiled last night as the Green Machineâs new main sponsors.Â Harrison, who has worked extensively in South Africa, has a number of contacts in that country.Â Zing promised to bring high levels of professionalism and years of success at the Harare giants as part of the sponsorship deal between the South African mobile technology developer and CAPS United.
The company was unveiled as the Green Machineâs flagship sponsors yesterday in a one-year deal that puts the total management of the club into the hands of the Durban-based company.
The sponsors, who have an option to renew at the end of the season, have seconded their general manager, Sean Lapin, to take over as the general manager at Makepekepe.
Lapin will work hand-in-hand with the clubâs chief executive, Joe Makuvire, to help establish more professional structures that will put the Harare giants in a position to generate a lot of revenue.
Zing representative Bruce Warren said it was difficult to come up with the total value of the deal, but the sponsors will work with the clubâs budget for the whole year, which is in excess of US$850 000.
Zing have also committed to help the club offset their debts and paying the players what they are owed.
Warren said the deal was not a bail-out package, but a way to see that Makepekepe find their feet and turn into a more professional club that should be able to raise significant revenue in the future and operate profitably.
âWe are coming into CAPS United to fix up football in our way, to make it entertaining and exciting, to make it something to aspire to go back to as a social occasion.
âItâs not just football, itâs more than that.
âThere are a lot of plans that we have got and Zing is coming in to oversee the management of the club. My only motto that I am going to instil into CAPS United is professionalism.
âThis is not an amateur club; there is money involved, so we need to be professional and thatâs how we are going to treat it.
âI expect it from the management, the players, the coaches and anyone involved with the club. We are a professional outfit.â
CAPS United will this year wear branded jerseys courtesy of Zing.
Club president Twine Phiri hailed their partnership with Zing and assured his players that they will now get their salaries on time, starting this month.
âLet me start by telling the boys that their salaries will be on time. Zing are coming in to assist us with sponsorship. They are the main sponsors for our club, we are in partnership.
âZing and CAPS United are in business and we are going to run it as a business. The partnership will go a long way. I want to assure Bruce and company that CAPS United will not disappoint you.
âAnd also speaking in my capacity as chairman of the league, Zing mustnât just look at Makepekepe, but could also go and look for avenues at other clubs,â said Phiri.
Warren said they have brought their own man to ensure that they achieve their vision with CAPS United.
Lapin will be responsible for the running of Makepekepe, together with Makuvire.
âWe have identified Sean as the perfect person to come to CAPS United. He is basically going to be the general manager for Zing and for CAPS United.
âHe is going to lead the club through the transition phases alongside Joe (Makuvire). The two will work hand-in-hand; they have been working together for three days and there has been already a lot of changes implemented for the good.
âThis year, obviously, we want to do well. I always want to win; that is my nature and I desire only first place.
âIf we do not succeed I want us to be right up there, but most importantly to be competitive.
âOur immediate goal next year is to win the league and I will make it a bold prediction that we will win the league and thereafter go into Africa.
âThere is no reason why a Zimbabwean club cannot compete at the highest level in Caf and be champions in Africa,â said Warren.
Zing are also looking to invest more into development structures.
Makepekepeâs junior policy was almost dead because of lack of resources, but the club had this year assigned former Mighty Warriors coach Johannes Chikaola to their development structures.
âMy philosophy, which, as agreed by Mark (Harrison), is that we are going to put a lot back into youth development.
âFootball is not about 15, 16 or 17-year-olds coming through. Itâs about 10, 11-year-olds being nurtured to be great players. We are going to start from the bottom going up.
âAt the moment, everybody is looking up and further upwards. At the 15, 16, 17 stage, itâs a bit too late.
âI am not saying they cannot be great players, but am saying we need to unearth the talent right at the bottom.
âThat is going to be our goal. As soon as we have solidified and stabilised the club, we are going to be focusing on the youth.
âThat will be the main goal so that going forward in the future we know that we have talent coming through and that will be the backbone of the club,â said Warren.
Harrison also addressed the gathering, while the club also paraded former Highlanders midfielder Joel âJostaâ Ngodzo as their latest acquisition.
Ngodzo will feel at home since Mark Mathe, who coached him at Bosso last year, is now Harrisonâs assistant at CAPS United.