Chitembwe has brought optimism

HARARE - CAPS United ‘s absence from the winners’ paradise for the last decade in which eternal rivals Dynamos dominated the domestic league, has been a pang of pain for their supporters.

And their failure to record a league win in six years over DeMbare made the Green Machine a caricature of the wobbly giant that was once dominant under Charles Mhlauri.

On Sunday, in the 1-1 draw with Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium, while the jinx continued, there were glows in the hearts of CAPS United fans.

Makepekepe turned up for the derby and their swashbuckling performance which was characterised by slick passing deserved a win, at least in the eyes of their fans and neutrals.

That the scoreline was 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes, judging on the balance of play; was a travesty of justice for a team that dominated the game over its rivals who played in patches.

Former skipper and coach Lloyd Chitembwe — who is in his third spell with the club — has given the fans and board optimism that the future is bright.

Chitembwe’s men played with their hearts on the sleeve, making it known to both sets of supporters that they are to be trusted with sparking a CAPS United revival which could make 2016 a year to lay a foundation for dominance.

At times temperamental but driven by the love for the game and winning with style, Chitembwe, on the evidence of his team’s performance on Sunday, has won over his players who have embraced his philosophy and culture of doings things at United.

From the first whistle, it was evident that they had a game plan and it was hinged on moving the ball with speed and attacking through the middle where Dynamos midfield quartet of Carlos Rusere, Steven Alimenda, Ronald Chitiyo and Walter Mukanga was second to every ball.

The outstanding Dominic Mukandi, who showed his potential last season but which was never matched by high workrate, patrolled the midfield with aplomb and won almost every ball in his duels.

This allowed Hardlife Zvirekwi, Phineas Bhamusi and Joel “Josta” Ngodzo to drill holes in the DeMbare midfield which cruelly exposed the frailties at the central defence pairing of returning captain Augustine Mbara and Godknows Murwira.

Speedy wingback Zvikomborero Bizeki, who was thrust into the defence from his midfield position, caused Dyanoms all sorts of problems everytime he was in possession.

Chitembwe’s tactics worked superbly because Bizeki restricted Ocean Mushure’s movements forward and this stymied Dynamos’ offensive lines which usually function well when the left back is on song.

In defence, Makepekepe blended pace with height and power.

Again this worked well as out-of-sorts Roderick Mutuma was easily neutralised by Stephen Makatuka while his central defence partner, Carlton Munzabwa won his duel with Richard Kawondera, a man of the same height.

Justice Jangano was deployed to an unfamiliar left back role but was never troubled as Bhamusi gave Blessing Moyo a torrid time, leaving the Dynamos right flank, ineffective.

The only disappointment for Chitembwe was that veteran striker Leonard Tsipa whose looping header earned CAPS United a share of the spoils, was not ably complemented in the second half.

Substitutes Dominic Chungwa and the rangy Antonio Fugo were at times too elaborate when simple passing was required.

Chungwa blew away a glorious chance right at the death when a simple tap in or lay off would have fed Tsipa but he selfishly elected to go for power and shot horribly over the bar.

Fugo dribbled and held onto the ball unnecessarily when he had free teammates in the box.

Chitembwe has given belief to the CAPS United family that he could be the man to take them back to winnings ways.

That there was no scowling on Sunday speaks volumes of the confidence that the former Warriors midfielder has in preparation for 2016.

“For me, the most important thing is the future. We have control over the future. I can’t concentrate on the past. I can’t single out any player, for me everyone gave it their all,” Chitembwe said in his post-match interview.

He might have failed to beat Dynamos on Sunday but he has a compelling case to be believed that the future looks good for CAPS United.

The music that most people thought had died is still playing after all for Makepekepe fans who shift their attention to this weekend’s Easycall Cup.

 

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