TO be fair, this is more of a fun debate than one leaving any particular side with much to crow about, because it is titles that matter and not big money signings, although the hysteria that surrounds transfer windows, particularly in England, would often indicate otherwise.
But still, who said there was anything wrong with having some fun?
On the immediate surface, Castle Lager Premier Soccer League 2015 champions , Chicken Inn, have done extremely well to raid Dynamos, Ngezi Platinum and “FC Platinum” camps.
The ambitious Simbisa Brands-sponsored side has made their title intentions clear by signing Dynamos’ attacking midfielder-cum winger Valentine Kadonzvo.
Other former Dynamos players at Chicken Inn are attacking midfielder Brett Amidu, who was on loan to the Glamour Boys last year from FC Platinum and has since moved to the Gamecocks as well as striker Panashe Mutasa, while defender Phakamani Dube has also been spotted training with Gamecocks.
Amidu has to sort out his contract issues with FC Platinum before he can commit to Chicken Inn who are involved in another player wrangle with the champions over former Bulawayo Chiefs’ striker Perfect Chikwende, believed to have signed with both clubs but is in Zvishavane.
Chicken Inn have also signed Sipho Ndlovu from Bulawayo City, Clive Augusto from Ngezi Platinum Stars, and Harare City’s Malvin Gaki.
Early this week the Gamecocks continued on a rich vein of form in the transfer market with their latest new signings being the duo of goalkeeper Donovan Bernard and midfielder Tichaona Chipunza who come in from Ngezi Platinum Stars.
“We might have missed one or two targets that were on our wish list. However, we are happy. We are going to Malawi for an invitational tournament and no one knows what kind of players we are going to see there. Our coaches are still searching for a lethal striker,” said Chicken Inn secretary-general Tawengwa Hara.
One could argue, however, that Mutare’s flagship football outfit for the 2019 season Manica Diamond have actually done better with a galaxy of seasoned stars that were on demand on the local market, going to them.
The Gem Boys, who will be under the tutelage of Luke Masomere, managed to lure ex-Dynamos players Patson Jaure, Sydney Linyama, Benjamin Marere and William Mapfumo, stocky Jacob Muzokomba, Ishmael Lawe, ex-FC Platinum attacking midfielder Marshal Mudehwe, Harare City’s Pritchard Mpelele, former national Under-20 skipper Wisdom Mutasa and Black Rhinos goalkeeper Ashley Reyners.
Manica Diamond’s executive member Lloyd Chinawa said they had also roped in a few players from Division One.
“We have a few players that we took from Division One clubs. What I can assure you is that we have assembled a team that can beat any other team in the Premiership on any given day. We prioritised talent and experience more than anything else in our approach,” said Chinawa.
If these seasoned players can manage to do well, it could be that the Gem Boys are the ones who are going to smile at the end of the season.
CAPS United eventually decided to raid the Bosso camp getting themselves two seasoned strikers, with Gabriel Nyoni and Newman Sianchali coming in.
Nyoni is a fine young player who had a stellar 2018 season in Bosso colours and it remains to be seen if Sianchali will be any better than CAPS’ 2018 strikers.
Bosso did a lot of business, but most of it was in tying down players — Peter Mudhuwa, Ariel Sibanda, Tendai Ndlovu, Charlton Simalonga, Ray Lunga, Mbongeni Ndlovu, Vincent Moyo and Brian Jaravaza.
Those that joined the club are returnees Prince Dube and Nqobizitha Masuku, Bukhosi Sibanda, Mbekezeli Sibanda, Alfred Chiname and Cleopas Kapupurika.
Harare City’s form improved last season under Mark Harrison and they have done some serious player exchanging in the window so far. Milton Ncube, Walter Mukanga and Marshall Machazane respectively joined Harare City from CAPS United, Ngezi Platinum Stars and Dynamos.
Troubled Dynamos have not done any incoming business, but ironically it could be that they are the ones who move most seamlessly into the next few months, as January signings often take time to settle.
So, who has won the window? Well, to be honest it is hard to tell, but Chicken Inn have made the transfer window interesting so far in the process, pinning down almost all of their targets.
The Zimbabwe Football Association first transfer window closes on 31 March.