Porous CAPS defence exposed

HARARE - CAPS United’s defeat to Libya’s Al Ahli Tripoli in their African Champions League match on Wednesday night has once again exposed Zimbabwean sides’ lack of preparedness in continental competitions.

The Green Machine suffered an ignominious meltdown as they surrendered a 2-1 lead before going on to lose 4-2 at the Stade Taieb Mhiri in Tunisia.

Earlier this month, Makepekepe had suffered another chastening defeat to the Libyan side by a similar score-line at the National Sports Stadium.

These two huge back-to-back defeats to Tripoli now leave Makepekepe with a mammoth task of qualifying for the quarter-finals in Africa’s premier inter-club competition.

Wednesday’s defeat left Lloyd Chitembwe’s side bottom of Group B with only three points from four matches.

Algerian side USM Alger (USMA) leads the group on seven points, Tripoli are second also on seven points while Egyptian giants Zamalek are third on five points.

United still have to play USMA away and Zamalek at home in their remaining two matches.

CAPS now need to win both matches and hope results elsewhere go their way if they are to make it into the last eight.

However, judging by Wednesday’s performance, it’s going to be a big task for Makepekepe.  

After taking a 2-1 lead through Ronald Pfumbidzai and Ronald Chitiyo goals, CAPS totally capitulated in the second half.

What was totally disappointing about the Makepekepe second half performance was the schoolboy defending from Hardlife Zvirekwi, Pfumbidzai, Justice Jangano and Dennis Dauda.

Tripoli forward Muaid Ellafi had a field day as he ran rings around the Makepekepe defence which looked lost at times.

The Libyans were able to score through Saleh Taher, Mohamed Ghanudi and Ellafi as the Makepekepe defending totally resembled a boozer’s side.  

This problem of failing to defend in international matches is not only peculiar to CAPS United but to most local teams.

Ngezi Platinum Stars’ run in the African Confederation Cup lasted only until the first round when they were eliminated by Angolan side CRD Libolo.

Having squeezed through in the preliminary stages with a 2-1 aggregate win over Pamplemousses SC of Mauritius the platinum miners were found wanting when they faced Libolo.

To date, only Dynamos have been able to reach the final of the Champions League although they lost 4-2 to ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast in 1998.

Once again in that final, DeMbare were let down by poor defending which cost them a place in history.  

The lethargic performances in international competitions are not only limited to club football but to the Warriors as well.

At the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon, Zimbabwe let in eight goals in three matches as they crashed out in the group stages.   

After Wednesday’s defeat, Chitembwe was not pleased with the way his team failed to defend their lead.

“I’m very disappointed. We had a very strong start in the first half.

“It’s never easy to score two goals away from home and at this level of competition after such a lead you expect to kill the game,” he said.

“Honestly speaking, I have never seen us play as bad as we did, conceding goals in the way we did is very disappointing and I think it goes down to lack of effort.

“Or maybe this is what experience brings sometimes to the team or maybe a lack of it was exposed.

“I am sure we lacked the necessary experience needed to play at this level. I did tell the players what I felt after the game.

“When you score two goals at this level you are expected to manage the game.

“But we went on to make a lot of technical mistakes, players losing possession in very crucial areas of the pitch and sometimes failing to apply the basic principles of defending, marking, players failing to attack and as long as you commit such kind of mistakes you will be duly punished.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.