Denver turns a corner at CAPS

HARARE - Denver Mukamba’s rehabilitation at CAPS United is showing encouraging signs with head coach Lloyd Chitembwe describing the talented midfielder as “disciplined”.

The former Dynamos talisman almost got wasted on drugs, as fame got the best of his career coupled with lack of guidance.

Mukamba started missing training sessions, sometimes coming in late while at times he would recuse himself just before crucial matches throwing the Glamour Boys’ preparations into disarray.

Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa, who goes by the moniker Father, due to his warmly affection for his players, ended up giving up on Mukamba. 

At the start of the year, Mutasa refused to entertain the talented Highfield-born midfielder and he faced sitting out for the remainder of his contract at the Glamour Boys.

However, Chitembwe offered the former Warriors player a chance to redeem himself when he signed him on loan from their cross-town rivals.

Since arriving at Makepekepe, Mukamba has had to work hard to regain match fitness after not having a proper pre-season while he was frozen out at DeMbare.

Slowly, the 26-year-old has worked his way into Chitembwe’s plans and so far has featured in two matches for the Green Machine.

Mukamba made his Makepekepe debut in the 2-2 away draw with Bulawayo Chiefs after coming in for the last 20 minutes.

Last Thursday, the midfielder got his second appearance for his new club when he was again thrown into the fray for the last 20 minutes during the 0-0 draw with defending champions FC Platinum.

“I’m very happy with his progress; with Denver it’s not really about his ability as a football player so much but if there’s anything that has impressed me the most it is his discipline.

“His attitude towards the game, towards his colleagues towards the coaches as well as towards just the institution has been marvellous,” Chitembwe said after the FC Platinum match.

“We are building him, I’m sure you will understand he has some fitness issues. At the moment he’s not at the level where he can play 90 minutes.

“I think it’s only sensible for a coach to give him the last minutes of the game than the first minutes where both teams will be very fresh and the tempo much higher...by the time the game wears on obviously the teams will slow down in terms of pace so I think that suits Denver.

“Today (Thursday) we gave him the last 20 minutes, the other game we gave him exactly 20 minutes so we are just building on his fitness levels.”

Meanwhile, Chitembwe was pleased with the way young midfielder Tinotenda Chiunye performed on his debut for the Green Machine.

The 19-year-old replaced Peter “Rio” Moyo in the 51st minute in the game against the platinum miners and he displayed some deft touches and clever runs.

He combined well with Mukamba later in the match only to be let down by the misfiring Makepekepe forwards.

Chitembwe welcomed the presence of the young Aces Youth Soccer Academy graduate.

“He still has a lot of things to learn, we don’t need to give him a huge responsibility I’m sure we are very happy with his progress, slowly, slowly he will get to where we want him to be,” he said.

“He has so much potential, he needs to keep improving and as a team we need to make sure that we improve with each and every single game that we play.”

This afternoon, United will be looking for their first win of the season when they take on Black Rhinos at Rufaro Stadium.

Makepekepe have managed three straight draws while Rhinos have one win and two defeats with the latest coming last Thursday when they were humiliated 3-1 by Yadah FC.

“We are going to do the same stuff, I’m sure we have been working very hard and I’m very happy with the response I’m getting from these boys and yes we are on the right track as far as I’m concerned,” Chitembwe said.

Today: Herentals v Yadah FC (Rufaro), Bulawayo Chiefs v Chapungu (Luveve), Black Rhinos v CAPS United (NSS)

Monday: FC Platinum v Bulawayo City (Mandava), Mutare City v Harare City (NSS), Nichrut v Ngezi Platinum (Ascot), Dynamos v Highlanders (Rufaro), Triangle v ZPC Kariba (Gibbo), Chicken Inn v Shabanie Mine (Luveve)

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