CAPS out to prove doubters wrong

HARARE - CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe says his charges are eager to scale greater heights despite a slow start to the season and expects better form when they host Harare City in a Castle Premiership tie this afternoon at the National Sports Stadium.

The champions, who are seeking a second successive championship, opened their title defence with a goalless draw against PSL returnees Shabanie Mine last weekend at Maglas Stadium. 

The Green Machine camp has been constantly affected by industrial action with players demanding their outstanding dues raising fears of the team’s pedigree to successfully retain the title.

Makepekepe are also yet to secure the services of striker Simba Nhivi, who played a key role in last year’s campaign following the expiry of his contract at the end of last year.

The development could leave Makepekepe with limited options upfront as the transfer window is already closed.

Nhivi, who is also believed to be on the radar of several Tanzanian clubs, did not travel to Zvishavane for the defending champions’ league opener against the Chinda Boys.   

Much has been said about the team’s blunt strike force having last scored against TP Mazembe in the Caf Champions League tie last month in Lubumbashi, but, according to Chitembwe, that has not been through lack of creativity in the final third of the pitch.

For the CAPS coach though, his charges still carry the same level of hunger and intensity that they did last year, when the team ended over a decade without winning the championship.

“I always say this to my players that we need to improve from what we were last season and I am happy the players have responded very positively and if I am to look at the application at training it leaves me satisfied that they still want to improve,” Chitembwe said.

“And to me that’s very key and I am sure you have seen it when we played TP Mazembe, Lioli and we can’t really say then that they failed to beat Shabanie on very bad pitch. We have to be very happy with what we got at Maglas.

“And if there are any lessons that I have learnt it’s that you don’t need necessarily to be at the top of the log from day one to win the league. You can be at the top of the log on day one but still fail to win the league.  

Chitembwe added: “Our ambition is very clear, we have tested it and we want to continue winning it. It’s not a secret, we are in a position where we feel we just have to win the league, that’s my honest opinion and players feel the same way too.”

Chitembwe, who is the reigning Coach of the Year, further noted that it is still too early to press the panic buttons adding that goals will soon come for his side.

“I can’t really say just because we failed to score in one game then all of a sudden we are in a crisis, no,” he added.

“Scoring goals is the responsibility of the whole team the same way as it is when defending. We created some good scoring chances but it was just not our day and we cannot blame anyone for that.”

But against a Harare City side that also started the season with a frustrating goalless draw against newly-promoted Yadah, Chitembwe knows it will not be an easy game.

Elsewhere, Harare giants Dynamos will be hoping to bounce back when they travel to the Lowveld this afternoon for a date against Triangle at Gibbo, after opening the season with a 0-1 defeat at the hands of FC Platinum last weekend.

The Glamour Boys were by yesterday still running around to get clearance for their Cameroonian striker Joel Christian Epoupa Ntouba to be available for this afternoon’s match.

The highly-rated 23-year-old forward signed for the Harare giants last month but could not play in the Glamour Boys’ season opener as his paperwork had not yet been finalised.

But despite a slender 0-1 defeat to last season’s runners-up, DeMbare fans would have been happy with how their team fared, considering expectations for their team were very bleak before the season started.

To their credit, the Glamour Boys played the game with intensity and showed they were more than willing and capable to attack only to be let down by poor finishing.

In Bulawayo, Highlanders will be desperate to put aside their problems which saw coach Erol Akbay, down tools missing the club’s two training sessions demanding his outstanding dues when they host Shabanie Mine at Barbourfields Stadium.

Bosso began their campaign with an impressive 2-0 victory over Bulawayo City last weekend and will be eager to maintain their positive start to the season.

Ngezi Platinum Stars who will also be out to maintain their perfect start to the season, after beating Black Rhinos 1-0 in their season opener — travel to Hwange this afternoon.

PSL Fixtures:

Today: CAPS United v Harare City (National Sports Stadium), Triangle United v Dynamos (Gibbo Stadium), Highlanders v Shabanie Mine (Barbourfields Stadium), Hwange v Ngezi Platinum (Colliery Stadium)

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