Harrison refuses to release CAPS players

Sports Reporter
CAPS United coach Mark Harrison has already plunged into domestic football controversy just a month after he started working in the country amid revelations yesterday that the Englishman has directed that his club should not release the trio of Ronald Pfumbidzai, Takudzwa Mahori and Kudzai Nyamupfukudza for the Young Warriors’ training camp.

The National Under-23 squad started trooping into camp on Monday to prepare for their All-Africa Games first round qualifier against Cameroon at Rufaro on March 22.

But when the players trooped into camp, the CAPS United players were conspicuous by their absence amid revelations that Harrison had insisted that he would not sanction their release on the basis that the All-Africa Games qualifiers fall outside the FIFA calendar for international matches.

CAPS United chief executive Joe Makuvire, however, tried to downplay the issue, claiming that “there had been a communication breakdown between CAPS United and ZIFA over the call-up of the players.

Young Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa had more than a dozen players turning up yesterday after a slow start on Monday, which forced him to call off training.

Pasuwa has also included five foreign-based players but there are also doubts hanging over the availability of Kuda Mahachi from Mamelodi Sundowns following indications that the South African Premiership champions are reluctant to release the winger.

Also missing from training were the FC Platinum contingent, which includes Kelvin Moyo, skipper Wisdom Mutasa, Walter Musona and Emmanuel Muranganwa but those have been excused as they are preparing for the platinum miners’ trip to Tanzania for a Confederation Cup assignment.

FC Platinum will travel to play Young African in Dar es Salaam on March 15 before hosting the Tanzanians at Mandava two weeks later.

By yesterday, only one of the foreign-based players – Judah Rashirai – who turns out for Real Salt Lake Academy in the United States had turned up for camp.

Meanwhile, Cameroon have reportedly intensified their preparations for the Zimbabwe trip. According to reports from Yaoundé, a squad of 44 players has been divided into two groups so that coach Pierre Ndjili Ndengue gets the best players from the pool.

So serious are the Cameroonians that all the Under-23 players who reported for duty with stylish hair dos had to be turned back to shave off and return when they are clean-shaven.

“The first group comprising of 22 players began training last Monday at the Fecafoot Technical Centre in Odza near Yaoundé.

“They trained up to Saturday (March 7) and then gave way to the second group which will begin training on Sunday (March 8).

“To demonstrate seriousness, the coach Pierre Ndjili sent back players who turned up for training with stylish hair-dos to go and shave their hairs before coming back for training.

“Pierre Ndjili stated that the objective of the squad is not only to qualify for the African games but also the Olympic Games of 2016 to take place in Rio de Janeiro.

“The selected players for now come from the League One and two Championships as well as regional championships,”.

Cameroon soccer team boasts of an Olympic gold medal following their exploits at Sydney in 2000 when Samuel Etoo announced his arrival and went on to become an international stars.

It is also back to business on the Mighty Warriors front with the women’s side, which also got into camp over the weekend stepping up their act ahead of their All-Africa Games second round qualifier against Ghana in two weeks time.

The national women’s soccer team on Sunday beat State House Eleven 3-0 at Rufaro in a curtain raiser encounter to the Bob 91 Super Cup final between Dynamos and CAPS United.