Zvirekwi rallies CAPS United

HARARE - CAPS United defender Hardlife Zvirekwi says they do not need any further motivation when they take on TP Mazembe in Sunday’s African Champions League match in Lubumbashi.

Makepekepe travel to the Stade TP Mazembe to take on the five-time African champions in the first leg of this final qualifying round with the second leg set for the National Sports Stadium a week later.

Together with the likes of Al Ahly, Esperance, Etoile Du Sahel and Zamalek, TP Mazembe are one of the aristocrats of African football due to their previous success on the continent.

Backed by the exiled Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) politician and businessman Moise Katumbi, one of Africa’s richest man, the Ravens are continental giants in all aspects.

While CAPS have to charter a plane from the newly established Rainbow Airlines, Mazembe on the other hand have to club jets.

The club plays in front of their fans in an 18 000-seater stadium they own which was constructed in 2011.

Among their playing staff there are the likes of Sylvain Gbohouo‚ who kept goal for the Ivory Coast at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and giant central defender Salif Coulibaly, who was in Mali’s squad at last month’s tournament.

Former DRC international Tresor Mputu, who was at one time Africa’s best paid footballer, returned to the club after a brief spell in Angola.

Last week, Mazembe, who are the reining African Confederation Cup champions, completed the singing of Belgian defender Antony Venden Borre from Anderlecht.

The 29-year-old former Fiorentina centre back has been capped on 28 occasions by the Belgium Red Devils. 

On the touchline, CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe will be pitting his wits against Frenchman Thierry Froger, who was last month appointed as the club’s coach.

Playing against opponents with such a high profile and history in the Africa game will obviously fire up the Makepekepe players according to Zvirekwi.               

These are the big games Zvirekwi and his teammates have always dreamed of taking part in when they emberked on their football careers.

“The guys are highly pumped up and the motivating factor is that we are playing against a big team. Obviously that gives us the drive to go out and give our best on a big day,” the Warriors international, who also participated at the 2017 Gabon

“It’s encouraging to all the players because they are raring to go and they want to leave a mark on this match. The players want to go out there and play with their hearts on their sleeves.”    

Makepekepe will fly out to Lubumbashi on Sunday morning and will arrive at least seven hours before kick-off.

The Green Machine will not have any time to train at the match venue or to get familiar with their surroundings.

However, Zvirekwi is confident the travel arrangements will not be any challenge to the players.  

“Obviously when you go a few days before the game you need a bit of time to acclimatise but in this case we are just going in there to play and we are out,” he said.

“We just have to play the 90 plus minutes on Sunday and there is no need to acclimatise so i think this is a good thing.”

Meanwhile, Chitembwe is still sweating over the fitness of left back Ronald Pfumbidzai, who is nursing an ankle injury.

The defender has been training with a heavily strapped right knee and his coach is pessimistic about his chances of playing on Sunday.

The surface at the Stade TP Mazembe is an artificial turf which usually is a difficult pitch for any player caring a slight niggle.

“I’m not 100 percent sure that he will participate in the match on Sunday but the rest of the guys are OK,” he said.   

Comments (1)

Forewarned is forearmed. This is going to be KepeKepe 's most difficult game and they need to defend well to come home with at at least a draw.

Kangira - 10 March 2017

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