HARARE – Farai Jere is one of the most prominent business people in Zimbabwe today with interests in shipping and forwarding as well as energy, and yet he remains a very humble character who mixes and mingles well with virtually everyone.
I met Jere 12 years ago when he was one of the top officials at CAPS United and our friendship has grown until this day.
For those who did not know, he is currently a student at the University of Zimbabwe where he is enrolled for a Bachelor of Accountancy Degree, and I also happen to be a lecturer there, which means he could well pass as one of my students although we are in different faculties.
The fact that he is an undergraduate student, at his age, shows that he is one person with an unquenchable appetite for knowledge, a trait normally found in all visionaries.
I respect him a lot, and he respects me a lot. In terms of his personality, he is an unassuming character.
Jere is currently the owner of CAPS United having taken over the reigns from Twine Phiri about two years ago.
Ever since he took over the reigns, CAPS United have become one of the best run clubs in Zimbabwe.
The man is a true visionary. The players like him; the technical team likes him and the fans like him.
When CAPS United won the league last year after spending 11 years in the wilderness, many people did not want to give credit to Jere and Lloyd Chitembwe, instead they argued that it was down to the fact that both Dynamos and Highlanders were not doing well.
They also thought that it was down to the quality of the players the coach had assembled.
The issue of the quality of the players cannot be disputed but I think CAPS United have, in the past, assembled star-studied teams better than this current squad.
I have in mind the class of 96 which had star players like Chitembwe himself, Alois Bunjira, Joe Mugabe, Farai Mbidzo, Stewart Murisa, Charles Yohane and Morgan Nkatazo.
Most of these players went on to play for the national team and later joined foreign leagues.
I am also reminded of the class of 2004/5, a team which was assembled by Charles Mhlauri, arguably one of the best coaches ever produced in Zimbabwe.
This team had intimidating names like Ian Bakala, Raymond Undi, Cephas Chimedza, Leonard Tsipa, Laughter Chilembe, Brian Badza, Joseph Kamwendo, Ashley Rambanapasi, Chewe Mulenga and David Sengu, among others.
Most of these guys went on to play for their different national teams. So in terms of talent I would rate the class of 96 and 2004/5 as better than the class of 2016/17.
But in terms of success, the class of 2016/17 stands head and shoulder above the other two classes.
What is the difference? The difference is that the class of 2016/17 had a different fighting spirit compared to the other two classes.
This, in my view, is down to two factors: Jere is a fighter because everything he touches turns into gold. When he sets his mind to achieve something, he achieves it.
When he decided to come back to CAPS United after having taken a sabbatical he, no doubt, had planned to take this great club to another level.
He committed a lot of his financial resources to this cause, to the extent that twice, CAPS United travelled to away matches by air.
These guys have reciprocated by doing well on the pitch because they are well looked after, despite the fact that the economy is underperforming.
Their grand entry into the stadium using two helicopters last Sunday where they were scheduled to play against TP Mazembe, also shows that these guys play for a club whose owner knows what he is doing.
Like any other mortal being, Jere has made blunders in the past especially when he was part of the decision-making brains that led to the appointment of Moses Chunga and Taurai Mangwiro as CAPS United coaches.
I have no issues with these two coaches, but I believe that they do not have the capacity to manage a club like CAPS United, which has a different philosophy, culture and tradition compared to Dynamos where these two coaches were nurtured.
I would consider this to be the darkest period in the history of CAPS United.
We made a lot of noise about this, and I penned many articles registering my displeasure to such diabolic decisions, and I became very unpopular in some quarters, but Jere listened, and when he took over, he employed one of CAPS United’s most illustrious or decorated sons, Chitembwe, as coach.
The results are there for everyone to see. Jere and Chitembwe deserve their place in the sun.
Judging by their performance against TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, I have no doubt that CAPS will conquer Africa.
Beating one of the biggest clubs in Africa is no mean achievement. Chitembwe is a shrewd coach, a tactician and a disciplinarian.
He is one guy who does not want mediocrity and yet he remains a father and a friend to the players.
He is a fighter and a winner. Even during his playing days, he was a fighter and a winner.
However, going forward Chitembwe needs to strengthen his squad especially the forward line.
We need goals because it is only goals that will take us to the next level.
Tsipa needs someone to complement his efforts because Dominic Chungwa and Simba Nhivi are not consistent in the way they perform week in week out.
They are very good strikers but they lack consistency sometimes. There is also need to strengthen the goalkeeping department.
We cannot rely on one very good goalkeeper, Edmore Sibanda. What will happen when he gets injured or is suspended?
Jorum Muchambo needs to step up and try to rise to the level of Sibanda, otherwise we will not be safe in the event that Sibanda is not available for selection.
My last words are: If we can beat TP Mazembe, it means we can beat anyone in Africa. Wish you the best CAPS United! We are behind you all the way!
* Mangena is a Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at the University of Zimbabwe. He is also a journalist and a Business and Professional Ethics Consultant. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His whatsapp number is 0775 885 953.