CAPS United have said they will stand by their skipper Method Mwanjali and midfielder Archford Gutu after a nightclub brawl in the early hours of yesterday, in which the duo was involved, ended with an identified man being stabbed in the belly twice and his car badly damaged.The Harare man was rushed to Parirenyatwa Hospital after being stabbed in the stomach, allegedly by Mwanjali, after a row over a woman, where he underwent a successful surgery and his family yesterday said his life was out of danger.
The CAPS United players were arrested and have been detained at Milton Park Police Station in the capital and indications are that they will appear in court tomorrow.
Mwanjali, a former Zimbabwe captain who was the skipper when the Warriors won their last Cosafa Cup, on home soil, in 2009 when they thrashed bitter rivals Zambia 3-1 at Rufaro, was named the CAPS United leader at the beginning of the year.
He returned home last year, after five years playing in South Africa, where he captained Mamelodi Sundowns and also played for Mpumalanga Black Aces.
Gutu also recently returned home after a spell in Europe and after training with his old club Dynamos decided to sign for their bitter rivals CAPS United in a surprise move after the Glamour Boys management took time to seal the deal.
Yesterday CAPS United revealed that they were sorting out legal representation for the duo ahead of their expected appearance in court tomorrow.
Mwanjali is accused of stabbing the motorist in the belly, and Gutu allegedly smashed the car’s windscreen.
Yesterday, the club’s spokesman, Alois Bunjira, who is also the board member responsible for marketing, said while the whole incident was regrettable, they were standing by the players until the whole issue is determined through the courts.
The club, he said, was already facilitating the engagement of a lawyer who will represent the two players.
“As much as we stand by our players, we also regret the whole incident and feel sorry for all those that got hurt and we wish them a speedy recovery,” said Bunjira.
“We don’t condone violence at the club. The matter will be dealt with at the club internally once the law has taken its full course.
“They have since given us their side of the story and from what we heard it was a brawl which wasn’t started by themselves and they were only defending themselves following a provocation.
“They say their exit was blocked when they were coming out of Longcheng Plaza and things became ugly with a lot of people involved and they say they don’t know who stabbed the guy.
“Method and Archie were also injured in the process and have facial injuries and sprained ankles.
“They say they went to report to the police and when they returned they found that Archie’s car had tyre punctures caused by those people.
“We stand by their words until the court hearing and we will get them a lawyer and we are still sorting that out at the moment.”
Yesterday, national police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi confirmed that the duo was detained and said the law will take its due process.
Method Mwanjali and Archford Gutu have been arrested by the police.
“What happened is a complainant driving a Toyota Altezza was coming out from the Longcheng Plaza Shopping Mall between 3:30am and 4:30am today and blocked the car which was getting into Longcheng, a Nissan Elgrand, which had Mwanjali and Gutu who was driving the car.
“Gutu then got off the car and smashed the windscreen of the Altezza and a dispute ensued. Mwanjali came in and joined in the dispute, took a knife from the car and stabbed the driver of the Altezza twice in the stomach.
“The other passengers in the Altezza got involved and Mwanjali and Gutu fled the scene. The driver of the Altezza was then ferried to Parirenyatwa after first reporting the incident to the police.
“Mwanjali and Gutu later handed themselves to the police and they are in police custody.
“We encourage people to resolve differences amicably and not get physical and the law will take its due course,” said Nyathi.
Sources told The Herald that the row involved a woman, who is believed to be going out with Mwanjali, and could also have been going out with the man who was stabbed.
“Archford was the one who saw this woman in the company of this man at the nightclub and called Method and when Yellow arrived at the scene, all hell broke loose,” the sources said.
“There was a brawl, an ugly one, and in the chaos the man was stabbed and a car windscreen smashed.”
It is the second time that Mwanjali has found himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons after he was sucked into a case in which the defender was duped by a man who promised to facilitate a driver’s licence for his father-in-law.
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe, a strict disciplinarian, is unlikely to be amused by the ugly events at the Harare night club and that his two players were still out, at that time of the day.
Mwanjali, as the team captain, is expected to act in an exemplary way at a club whose owner, Harare businessman Farai Jere, has been working very hard to rebrand as a professional outfit that can attract sponsorship from a number of corporate partners.
The Green Machine have declared that they want the league title, which they last won 11 years ago, and have gone on a recruitment which saw the former Dynamos midfielder Gutu and a host of other clubs arriving at the club.
They have secured a club house in Harare and their professional approach have seen them setting aside a day, every week, where the team meets members of the media to discuss issues relating to the club.
Unlike the rest of the Premiership clubs, who let their coaches and players field questions on the field after a match, CAPS United have reserved a Press conference room — like what happens at many professional clubs — where such interaction is made.
They have collected four points in the first two league matches and such is the intensity in their quest for the league championship, Chitembwe was so distraught, after they conceded a last-gasp goal in the 1-1 draw against Ngezi Platinum, he could not field questions from the media.