We did our best - CAPS

HARARE - After a rollercoaster ride in 2017, Castle Lager Premiership defending champions CAPS United will surrender their title to either FC Platinum or Dynamos this weekend.

The Green Machine is destined to finish the season in fifth place after they put in an insipid performance in Sunday’s goalless draw against relegation-threatened Bulawayo City at the National Sports Stadium.

In fact, United were lucky as they were pinned back for long periods in the game by a determined Amakhosi side that is desperately hanging on for dear life in the top flight.

Sunday’s draw left Makepekepe with 57 points from 33 games and even if they beat Highlanders in their last match this weekend they will not overhaul fourth-placed Chicken Inn, who are on 61 points.

Speaking after the draw with Bulawayo City, Makepekepe assistant coach Mark Mathe reckons his side had done well considering the taxing season they have endured.

“Look, we have done very well; at one time we were stuck in the relegation zone, we were fourth from bottom,” Mathe said.

“But we clawed our way back and now we are fifth on the log. We were always saying that our plan was to win the next game and we have done that consistently.

“In the second half of the season we have been consistent never minding not winning the title but we are happy with our form.

“It looks bright for next season if we can continue with this form and now we are focusing on our next and final game against Highlanders.”

Due to their participation in the African Champions League, Makepekepe had a punishing fixture schedule as they had to begin their season in February.

United first took on Lesotho champions Lioli FC whom they beat 2-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round.

Next up was five-time African champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo in the final qualifying round.

Makepekepe defied odds as they dumped Mazembe on away goals rule to reach the group stage of the African Champions League for the first time in their history.

Lloyd Chitembwe’s side was drawn in a tough Group B that also included Egyptian giants Zamelek, Libya’s Al-Ahli Tripoli and Algerian side USM Alger.

CAPS finished the competition bottom of the group with six points following two home wins against Zamalek and USM Alger.

However, their campaign was hampered by back-to-back 4-1 and 4-2 defeats to Al-Ahli Tripoli.

This run in the Champions League meant CAPS’ domestic league programme was severely affected as some of their matches had to be postponed.

In the end, the Green Machine had to play catch-up and at times playing three games in the space of seven days.

But they buckled up as they suffered only a single defeat in the second half of the season which saw them climb up the ladder.

At one stage it looked like they would gatecrash into the title race owing to their consistent form but in the end it proved a bridge too far.

CAPS were hampered by disappointing home draws against  Hwange, Black Rhinos and on Sunday against Bulawayo City.

If they had picked up maximum points in those matches, it could have been a totally different story considering that they are 12 points behind current log leaders FC Platinum.

On Sunday, Makepekepe were particularly disappointing as they played like a team disinterested from what was going on.

They managed only a single shot on target the entire 90 minutes.

“I attribute it to the fact that we didn’t do too many off-the-ball runs so as to get behind the back four,” Mathe said.

“They had a static back four with their wing backs not moving up.

“We should have done better to get behind their back four and that’s why we could only get one shot on target throughout the game.”

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