'TP Mazembe vicious at home'

HARARE - CAPS United will have to be at their very best especially in the first leg away to TP Mazembe this weekend in the African Champions League.

This is the warning former Mwana Africa defender Alfred “Chibeka” Chinodakufa had for the Green Machine as they prepare to face the Ravens at the Stade TP Mazembe this Sunday in Lubumbashi, DRC.

The return leg is scheduled for the National Sports Stadium in Harare a week later with the winner of the tie progressing to the lucrative group stages of Africa’s premier inter-club competition.

Chinodakufa was part of the now-defunct Mwana Africa side that wrote their fairy-tale in the African Confederation Cup in 2007, reaching the play-off stages before they were knocked out of the competition by seasoned campaigners TP Mazembe.

He believes the key for Makepekepe to qualify for the group stages will be to be very competitive at the Stade TP Mazembe, a venue where the Ravens have not lost a continental match since 2014.

“TP Mazembe are always dangerous at home and I think CAPS United need to be on high alert when they go there. With the backing of their home fans they are very dangerous and they attack left, right and centre,” Chinodakufa said.

“It will be good if CAPS go and contain them away and then try to finish them off at home. Of course a lot has changed since the last time we played them but one thing that is certain is that it will be a difficult game for CAPS United and they really need to be focused.

“Remember this is a big club with a lot of good players in their books owing to a fat purse from their owner Moise Katumbi. CAPS United just need to believe in themselves that they can win.”

TP Mazembe are coming into the match in high spirits following a thumping 4-0 victory over rivals Lubumbashi Sport in their first league match since December to stay clear at the top of the log.

CAPS are aware they need to go a gear up having been unconvincing when they overcame Lesotho champions Lioli FC in the preliminary round of the competition last month.

Makepekepe and Lioli played out a goalless draw in the first leg in Maseru in a match both sides struggled to assert themselves.

The second leg at the National Sports Stadium proved to be a difficult encounter for the Zimbabwe champions as Tse Nale took a first half 1-0 lead.

United were able to turn around the match in the second half through goals from Simba Nhivi and new boy Ronald Chitiyo.

However, before completing the comeback, Makepekepe had endured anxious moments as goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda made some stunning saves to deny Lioli.

If Makepekepe put in a similar performance like the one against Lioli, then they might be put to the sword by a star-studded Mazembe side.

“I watched TP Mazembe few weeks ago against Mamelodi Sundowns, they tried hard to penetrate but I think the South Africans had done their homework as their key players (Rainford) Kalaba and (Solomon) Asante where suffocated,” Chinodakufa said.

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