REIGNING Premier Soccer League top goal scorer, Leonard Tsipa finally joined his team mates at training yesterday following a lengthy absence which had fuelled speculation he might not be around at champions Caps United as they plunge into the African Champions League campaign early next month.
By Tafadzwa Ndiraire
The veteran striker who turns 35 on January 25, this year has not been attending training since Makepekepe regrouped for training on January 3, in preparation for their African safari.
He had been linked with a move to Tanzania where several Zimbabwean players have found new homes after he had gone there soon after helping Caps United to the championship success last year year.
Tsipa’s contract with the Green Machine ran out on December 31, and when he failed to show up at training as the team stepped up their preperations for the next season, it had been thought he would not be renewing his contract with the team.
However, Tsipa reported for duty yesterday and explained that he has been attending to personal issues and would renew his contract with Caps United.
“I have not been attending training as I was attending to personal commitments. It’s true I haven’t renewed my contract yet but that is not really an issue. I will be seeing the club management soon so that I can sign the contract. I am not going anywhere. I will be at Caps United. That’s all I can say,” said Tsipa.
Caps United however, have lost vice captain Stephen Makatuka to South African National First Division side AmaZulu after the club failed to tie him to a new deal following the expiry of his contract on December 31.
But they have also signed former Harare City forward Ronald Chitiyo whom they registered in their squad for the Caf Champions League.
They have also added goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba, who signed from Gunners, as well as defender, Last Sithole, snapped up from FC Platinum.
Caps United are targeting reaching the money-spinning group stages in the Champions League, a feat that would guarantee them $550 000 after Caf reviewed their prize monies upwards at the beginning this season.
They have left five slots open in their squad allocation, which they intend to fill up if they reach that stage.
They begin their Champions League campaign with a clash against Lesotho minnows Lioli in the preliminary stage next month, and will face off African football giants TP Mazembe in the first round if they advance.
If they beat Lioli and TP Mazembe, they advance to the group stages after Caf cut the two-legged qualifying phase from three rounds to two and expanded the group stage from eight to 16 teams, divided into four groups of four clubs.
If they lose against Mazembe, they will be relegated to the Caf Confederations Cup, where they will be required to participate in a play-off round.