Chitembwe sees positives from Zamalek defeat

ALEXANDRIA - CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe believes his team is on the right track despite their 2-0 defeat to Zamalek in the African Champions League Group B opening match on Friday night.

The Zimbabwean champions had done well to keep the White Knights at bay but were finally undone by two second half headers from Bassem Morsi and substitute Stanley Ohawuchi.

After having been on top of his game especially in the first half, Makepekepe goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda was at fault for both goals as he should have at least got his hands to the ball.

Chitembwe refused to put the blame squarely on his goalkeeper as he preferred to talk about the positive signs his team had shown against the five-time African Champions.

“We played a good team with a lot of experience and history in African football and I felt my boys gave a good account of themselves,” Chitembwe said after the match.

“The application was good especially in the second half but unfortunately the result did not match the effort. Technically, we were slightly better than the more seasoned Zamalek in my view and physically we finished stronger than them.

“I think where we did not exactly apply ourselves well was probably on the mental aspect.

“Concentration is one key area of mental fitness and I even said it to the boys that the only chance that these boys could breach our goal is when we make mistakes.

“It never looked like they were capable of hurting us from open play but we lost concentration and they capitalised on it but seriously speaking the result did not reflect the way these boys performed.”

The reigning Zimbabwe Coach of the Year believes this was a good learning exercise for his players most of them who are playing in this stage of the competition for the first time.   

“To me this is the only way these boys would get experience because for some of these players it’s their first time playing at this level. And for them to apply themselves in such a way is very commendable,” he said.

“It shows these boys are more than capable of re-writing history especially for this football club and if there is a generation of players that can change the fortunes of this club then it is this generation.

“What is more important in this is the experience that is being acquired and I am happy with how these boys are improving.

“It comes down to experience you need to have experience to compete at this level and I am confident of a better future.”

CAPS’s next match in the competition is against USM Alger of Algeria on May 24 in Harare and Chitembwe is confident they will get a positive result.

Alger began their Group B campaign with a 3-0 home win over Al-Ahli Tripoli on Friday night.

“Teams that win things normally have a certain degree of experience and today the boys played like seasoned campaigners which give us hope going forward.

“We actually had a chance of prevailing given how we dominated especially in the second half,” he said.

“The performance gives us the hope that going forward we have a great team a team that can compete against anyone. It also gives us the belief that there is something these guys are doing right for them to be able to perform the way they did at this level of the game.”

But before Makepekepe can think of that game against the Algerians, they have a demanding domestic fixture as they have to travel to Nyamhunga on Thursday to face ZPC Kariba before going to Bulawayo for a date with Chicken Inn next Sunday.

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