CAPS in high spirits

ALEXANDRIA - CAPS United are taking a cautious approach when they take on Egyptian giants Zamalek in their African Champions League Group B opening encounter this evening at Borg El Arab Stadium.

The match kicks off at 9pm local time.

The Green Machine arrived in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, in the wee hours of yesterday before travelling to Alexandria where the match is being played.

Following their arrival in Alexandria just after 6am, coach Lloyd Chitembwe gave his players the whole of yesterday afternoon to rest ahead of their scheduled evening training session at the match venue last night.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s blockbuster fixture, Chitembwe revealed that they would not throw caution to the wind in as much as they want a positive start but would rather be pragmatic in their approach.

“It has been a long journey from Harare to Cairo and finally to Alexandria but so far so good. The reception has been okay, the Egyptians are very hospitable people. I think you can’t complain on that aspect,” Chitembwe said.

“There is no difference really in our approach from the local matches but what we want is to try and compete away from home. We want to try and get something in away fixtures and try and get maximum points in our home matches and this how we are approaching these games.

“We want to be responsible and don’t want to give away what we have. We know what we want and we know what we have to do to get what we want so we will go there and try to be as hardworking and also very sensible.

“It’s one game that you have to play with your mind as well as the physical application.”

Makepekepe are playing in this stage of the competition for the first time while Zamalek are one of the aristocrats of African football, having won the CAF Champions League five times.

“One thing for sure is that they are a very good team with a lot of credentials and unbelievable resources but all the same in football there is more to that and we have proved it last year,” Chitembwe said.

“What matters most is the desire and if you show the right kind of desire you stand a very good chance of competing against very resourceful clubs.

“I think I saw something in these boys since last year and I even said it before the season started that this group is a very special group of players.

“They are players that have the potential to re-write history books and I am happy that they are fulfilling my dream and I think it’s only good for them individually and collectively as a group.”

Chitembwe added: “I am happy with how some of these boys have handled the pressure for instance you look at a player like Phineas (Bhamusi), he has been playing like a seasoned campaigner and I think it goes down to the amount of work the coaches have put in the player and also how the player responds to instructions.”

Makepekepe will be without midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike for tonight’s game after the technical team decided to give him a rest as he is still recovering from an injury.

This means Chitembwe will be with only six players on the bench since they had travelled with a squad of only 18.

CAPS United Squad in Egypt: Edmore Sibanda, Jorum Muchambo, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Valentine Musarurwa, Devon Chafa, Justice Jangano, Kudzanai Nyamupfukudza, Carlton Mudzambwa, Moses Muchenje, Dominic Chungwa, Phineas Bhamusi, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Ronald Chitiyo, Tafadzwa Rusike, Abbas Amidu, Cabby Kapamha, Dennis Dauda, Joel Ngodzo.

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