• Phiri, Machapa, Pfumbidzai transfers now set to sail through
Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
THE provisional embargo imposed on the transfer of CAPS United players, to both foreign and domestic football clubs, is set to be lifted after the Green Machine struck an out-of-court agreement with businessman Nobert Chawira for a resolution of their dispute.
This means the transfer of three CAPS United players — Oscar Machapa (AS Vita, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ronald Pfumbidzai (Hobro IK, Sweden) and Gerald Phiri (Bidvest Wits, South Africa) — will now go ahead as scheduled before the close of the transfer window on Tuesday.
The movement of the players had been put on hold after the High Court issued a provisional order barring CAPS United from executing any transfers of their players, to either local or foreign clubs, pending the determination of a dispute between the Green Machine and Chawira over the payment of a $55 000 loan handed by the business to the club two years ago.
ZIFA were also barred, in the interim, from issuing clearance certificates to enable the CAPS United to complete their transfers from the Green Machine to the foreign clubs.
Justice Owen Tagu issued a provisional order, at the beginning of this month, outlawing the transfer of the players from CAPS United to either local, or foreign, clubs pending the determination of the dispute between the Harare giants and the businessman.
But yesterday, Chawira told The Herald that the two parties had reached an out-of-court settlement with the Green Machine committing themselves to a payment plan that will see them dissolving the debt in the next few weeks.
“CAPS United have signed the payment plan that we drew up and the club has committed itself to paying us the first tranche that will come from payment for the transfer of Gerald Phiri to Bidvest Wits and although that will not dissolve the debt, it is a big step going forward,” Chawira said.
“The club has also committed itself to paying various amounts for the dissolution of the debt, as provided for in the payment plan, and we are very happy that this represents a step forward in resolving our dispute.
“It was never our intention to derail the careers of the players but just to ensure that we also get some protection for the investment that we made in the club and we close this chapter which has been hanging for some time.
“Because of the commitment that we have received from CAPS United, we can announce that our High Court case will be withdrawn and the club and ZIFA will now get the green-light to execute the transfer of the players.
“What is important, right now, is that this agreement protects the interests of both parties and, crucially, it does not derail the careers of the players who will now concentrate on their business without these issues hanging over their heads.”
Chawira, who is a CAPS United fan, took his case to the High Court after CAPS United failed to pay him back the $55 000 he loaned the club, two years ago, at a time the Green Machine were in a financial dilemma.
The High Court ruled that “pending the finalisation of the dispute between the Applicant (Chawira) and 1st Respondent (Chawira) under the summons case, 2nd Respondent (ZIFA) be barred and interdicted from issuing any clearance certificates in respect of first Respondent (CAPS United’s) players.”
The Herald revealed last year that CAPS United used their players as security and gambled on potential earnings from transfers, both at home and abroad, as collateral, to unlock a raft of interest-free loans from Chawira, to service their operations.
Twine Phiri, then the majority shareholder and president at CAPS United, and club chief executive, Joe Makuvire, signed the agreement.
CAPS United undertook to “cede the club’s rights to any transfer earnings that may be realised for the local or international transfer of players in their books, cede rights to any prize money that may be realised for the local or international transfer of players in their books, cede rights to any prize money that may be earned for duration and quantum of indebtedness to the creditor.
“The club, hereby, consents and expressly empowers the creditor to recover his debt in part, or in full, from any further transfer earnings.
“The club undertakes to service all debts, under this agreement, by 28 February 2014, and shall ensure a deliberate effort to export players so as to meet obligations covered by this guarantee by the due date.”
Meanwhile, Chawira has revealed that his company will pay part of Callisto Pasuwa’s salary during his time as Warriors’ coach with ZIFA, and their other partners, footing the other part of the bill.
“We are subsidising Pasuwa’s salary, we have committed ourselves to paying part of his salary, and it’s our little contribution to the development of the game in this country,” said Chawira.
“We believe that we have a very good chance of qualifying for the 2017 AFCON finals and it’s important that we feel that the coach has to be supported, in every way possible, so that he can work in an atmosphere where he can deliver what the nation wants.
“It’s good that Pasuwa is back as national team coach because he has been doing well in that job and we are proud to be helping in our small way.”
Pasuwa had a change of heart last week, returning to his job as Warriors’ coach, after ZIFA paid part of his outstanding dues.
On Monday, he named a squad, for the 2017 Nations Cup qualifier against Guinea, which has been warmly received by the domestic football fraternity.