CAPS UNITED legend Joe “Kode” Mugabe’s much awaited biography is almost done and naturally Makepekepe, the club that gave him fame, features prominently in that account.
Now 51, Mugabe who transformed himself from a little-known Churchill High School boy from Mabvuku high-density suburb into a distinguished servant of CAPS United, now stays in Reading, England, but his blood has remained green over the decades.
The former CAPS United skipper is following with keen interest events unfolding at Makepekepe who have gone on a massive recruitment exercise that has seen the 2016 champions bringing on board close to 20 new players.
These include 2018 Soccer Star of the Year finalist Innocent Mucheneka, Warriors fringe player Richard Hachiro, tearaway winger Ian Nyoni, Ishmael Wadi and rising star Tatenda Tumba.
Former Yadah Stars winger Leeroy Mavhunga, Munyaradzi Diro Nyenye, ex-FC Platinum keeper Wallace Magalane, Munyaradzi Kunyarimwe, Tafadzwa Jaravani and Carlos Mavhurume are also now at Makepekepe.
Former club captain Hardlife Zvirekwi, Lincoln Zvasiya, Valentine Ndaba, Carlos Rusere, Dominic Mukandi and goalkeepers Chris Mverechena and Prosper Chigumba are some of the high-profile players who have been offloaded.
CAPS United vice-president Nhamo Tutisani has hinted that the plan is to bring in a total of 40 new faces at Makepekepe, who lost the race for the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League to FC Platinum on the last day of action.
Some players will be loaned out while some will be slotted into CAPS United’s newly assembled Under-20 side that will be coached by 1996 Soccer Star of the Year Stewart Murisa, who has been appointed assistant development manager.
Tutisani told The Sunday Mail Sport last Friday that his institution was also on the verge of appointing a technical manager as part of the vision to turn Makepekepe into a commercially viable club that rakes in money through buying and selling of players.
This revolution excites Mugabe, who foresees a brighter future for his boyhood club.
“What they (CAPS United) are doing gives us a lot of hope. It means a lot for the future of the club,” Mugabe said from his base in England.
Mugabe was CAPS United’s vice-captain when the Green Machine powered their way to the championship podium in 1996, ending a 17-year wait.
He was befittingly named amongst the best players of that season with teammate Murisa winning the Soccer Star of the Year accolade.
Mugabe was Soccer Star of the Year finalist in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 2001 before he hung up his boots in 2003.
“CAPS United shaped my life, I am who I am today because of CAPS United. That is why the club features prominently in my biography. The biography is on its way, soon it will be out,” revealed Mugabe.
Former Sunday Mail scribe Albert Marufu, who also authored Memory Mucherahowa’s explosive book — “Soul of Seven Million Dreams” — is writing Mugabe’s biography.
“It was hard swallowing last season’s failure to win the championship. It’s always hard to lose it that way. It was also sad to hear that players went on strike ahead of crucial matches, I hope that won’t happen in future.
“CAPS United need players who play for the badge. That is why I always believe in junior football. Players have to grow within the system. I hope the new system works out well.
“AS CAPS United Legends based in the UK we will be carrying on with our programmes. We will soon be donating equipment to juniors back home,” said Mugabe.
CAPS United vice president Tutisani is a firm believer in junior football development as espoused by CAF Club Licensing Rules and is the driving force behind Makepekepe’s revolution.
“What I can confirm is that we now have a developmental programme as espoused by CAF Club Licensing Rules. We want to push football forward so we need to have proper structures.
“Club Licensing is not punitive as most people would like to believe, it is actually a management tool meant to professionalise and commercialise football.
“It’s a process but we have started complying.
“What we have done is to spread our technical team. So apart from being the assistant coach to the senior team, Stewart Murisa will also be the assistant development manager in charge of the Under-20 team.
“This Under-20 team is the ultimate feeder to the senior team, so you will discover that senior team coach Darlington Dodo will also be overseeing the project.”
Tutisani also explained the logic behind CAPS United wanting to sign 40 players when the Premier Soccer League allows clubs to register 25 senior players.
“People get confused when they hear the number 40, especially when the PSL allows us to register 25 senior players. But what we are doing is to create a large pool of players.
“Some will be slotted into our developmental side while some will be loaned out.
“Football is big business in Europe but unfortunately this side we are still behind. That’s why as CAPS United we are pushing towards fully commercialising the club.
“At the end of the day we need to increase the numbers at the stadium. We can’t be called a big football institution when we average about 3 500 fans in our home games. We need to move to at least an average of 10 000 fans,” Tutisani said.
The need for the Green Machine to also be in the running for the championship they last won in 2016 has not been lost on their fans who agonisingly watched as CAPS United slipped from potential champions into third on the final weekend of last season’s title race won by FC Platinum.