CAPS UNITED: Uncertainty grips Green Machine

2504-2-1-CAPS LINEUPCAPS UNITED president Twine Phiri has refused to publicly place a price tag on the club despite indicating he is ready to sell Zimbabwe’s third-biggest football team by support base.

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Phiri last Wednesday told Star FM he would dispose his stake in Makepekepe if the right offer came.

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This triggered much speculation with some reports claiming that a group of Bulawayo businessmen was ready to swoop on the Green Machine. But Phiri refuses to reveal how much he values Caps United in dollar terms.

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“I cannot tell you the exact price for this franchise because it is highly, highly confidential,” said Phiri on Friday.

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While Phiri plays his cards close to his chest, Makepekepe coach Mark Harrison says his players are in a state of confusion ahead of their clash with ZPC Kariba at the National Sports Stadium in Harare today.

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“I haven’t spoken to Twine or Joe (Makuvire, Caps United chief executive) since those statements on radio . . . I have tried to contact them, but you see, they are a bit elusive, yet it is important that I have constant contact with the executive.

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“I just want to work in a normal environment. Soccer is a stressful environment already and to operate in this kind of situation makes my life even more difficult.

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“You can only get the best out of people if they are in the right frame of mind, the players are always looking over their shoulders, and they do not know what tomorrow may bring.

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“But I have told them we just have to move on, game by game, doing it for the fans and hopefully things will get better,” said Harrison.

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The Briton said he was, nonetheless, feeling the love from the Caps United faithful.

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“I have received massive support from the fans, some have been texting me from as far as Beitbridge, Bulawayo and Kadoma . . . they are telling me ‘coach we are behind you’ and that has kept me going,” said Harrison.

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An evaluator who declined to be named for professional reasons said valuation of the club depended more on the asset base rather than goodwill.

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“Yes, Caps might be a big brand with a huge fan base, but that is secondary because there is really no specific value you can attach to that patronage. What is important are the club’s monthly cash flows, or even forecasts. Whether the club is making a profit or a loss is also crucial but I must say this whole process is highly subjective, judgment calls could be varied,” he said.

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Another observer said Caps United’s legacy enhanced its value but was quick to highlight that the club’s financial position would be a major factor in any negotiations. A Caps United insider said the club was sitting on a debt of close to US$4 million with major creditors being shareholder Farai Jere and former directors Nhamo Tutisani and Lewis Uriri.

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“It would be a gamble for someone to inherit such a property, probably they could go the route where those creditors convert their money into shares,” said the source.

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