Chitembwe remains calm. . . as Makepekepe, DeMbare square-off

Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe insists the result in their pre-season invitational Charity Challenge Cup against bitter rivals Dynamos tomorrow will not be a priority as he wants to use the platform to ensure his charges are in great shape ahead of the 2019 Castle Lager Premiership season.

The Green Machine face the Glamour Boys at the National Sports Stadium in a charity match being organised by Passion Events were winners are guaranteed $20 000 with losers set to pocket $15 000.
Chitembwe reckons while Makepekepe fans will be keen for early bragging rights against their neighbours as always the case when these two clubs meet, they, however, need to use the opportunity to gauge the progress they have made in the pre-season.

“I respect the feeling of the fans but I’m a football coach am not a fan. So we look at a bigger picture and that is what the team need at this stage of the season. They need preparation and that is basically what we are doing preparing for the new season,” Chitembwe said.  

“You can’t run away from that fact. Of course winning a game is equally important but I think at this stage, for now I’m focusing on building the right team for the better part of the season. I have seen so many teams winning these pre-season matches but go on to falter during the course of the season.

“So at the end of the day we got to be very responsible so that what we are going to do on Sunday will give us an indication in terms of performance. And like I said so far so good, the attitude is good; the boys are giving us the right to believe.”

And following an indifferent campaign last year, in which they finished in a lowly eighth place on the log, a massive 30 points behind reigning champions FC Platinum, Chitembwe is convinced he has assembled a relatively competitive side this time around.
 At the end of last season, United showed the exit door to a number of their senior players who were deemed excess baggage while signing some exciting young talent and established stars which is giving them hope of challenging for top honours this year.

Makepekepe have re-signed Phineas Bhamusi following a successful year with Triangle. The club also completed the signing of winger Gabriel Nyoni from Highlanders while midfielder Ronald Chitiyo, who did not kick a ball for the whole of 2018, has also recovered from a knee injury and is back with the club.

United have also added striker Clive Rupiya from Chapungu while midfielder Pride Zivengwa was signed from newly-promoted Gweru-based side TelOne FC. The club also managed to retain the services of Soccer Star of the Year finalist Joel Ngodzo despite interest from various other clubs.

“I think this season we have a better team than the one we had last year. So we look confident and good to go. It’s not feasible to attain a perfect team but looking at the work ethic, looking at the desire of these players to improve gives me every reason that we have the right team,” said Chitembwe.

“Last season we didn’t have the speedy especially on transition, we needed that and the work ethic was not as good as the work ethic we have right now. The most important thing is to wind up the preparation phase. These are preparation games and we want this game to serve its purpose which is to prepare the team for the most important games — the league matches.

“We want this game to serve that purpose and obviously try some little things but at the same time have an opportunity to give the players the much needed game fitness. I am looking at a bigger picture and the bigger picture is to be a good team throughout the season.

On the team’s 2018 expectations, Chitembwe said: “The expectations have always been the same and that is to do well. Ever since I joined CAPS in 2015, we had a good 2016 season, 2017 season and 2018 was obviously not been as good as other seasons. So the idea is to try and improve from last season.

“That’s the expectation, we want to do well. We can talk as much but as a coach you have to work hard to achieve your set targets. So it’s not really important to say how much we want to achieve this season but just have to work hard.”

Chitembwe’s counterpart Lloyd Chigowe is also keen to use the opportunity to see the progress made by his charges thus far. 
Chigowe is currently on re-building following the departure of the bulk of players who did duty last year.

Gate charges have been pegged at $5, $10 upper grand stand and $30 for the VIP. The organisers of the charity match said proceeds from the match will go towards assisting the less privileged members of society.


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