Chitembwe keeps Sarupinda grounded

CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe wants his fledgling  player Blessing Sarupinda to keep his feet on the ground after an impressive debut for the Green Machine on Sunday against newly-promoted Manica Diamonds.

The 19-year-old was the star of the show in central midfield for Makepekepe as they beat the Gem Boys 2-0 at the National Sports Stadium to kick-start their 2019 Castle Lager premiership season in fine form.

Forward John Zhuwawu and midfielder Joel Ngodzo were on target for United in the first half but it was Sarupinda, who caught the eye with an assured performance in the middle of the park.
Although he started off his career as an out and out striker, Chitembwe feels the Aces Youth Soccer Academy graduate could utilise his poise as a midfielder.

Sarupinda, who is the third generation of a family steeped in football history, was dropping deep into his own half to initiate all the Makepekepe moves.

He was United’s deep-lying play-maker against the Gem Boys, and his passing range was just as accurate.
Sarupinda displayed grit and tenacity to suck in his marker by exposing the ball before escaping with ease, an art that has been mastered by PSG midfielder Marco Verratti.

“What motivated me to have Bule (Sarupinda) in midfield is because the boy has so much ability on the ball,” Chitembwe said.
“He is intelligent on the ball and at the same time, he gives you the work rate; he has so much he can give the team but not necessarily in forward positions but in slightly withdrawn positions.
“In those positions, he is able to have so much time on the ball and he can manipulate it very well. He is one player that has so much ability to make the whole team play.

“That’s the reason why I chose to have him in midfield; I thought he gave us so much in the first half though in the second half, he was a bit too elaborate.”

The Makepekepe coach, however, urged the young player, who is still developing his game in a new position and club, to continue working hard.

“This is still a learning phase for the boy, he’s only 19 or 20 thereabout so he still has a lot to learn,” he said.
“He is one kind of a player that I can tell you he is destined for greater things if he continues growing and developing in the right way.”

Chitembwe was also impressed by the way his new signings Phenias Bhamusi and Gabriel Nyoni terrorised the Manica Diamonds defence.

“That’s why they are here and we expected them to do more. They gave us the forward thrust that we did not have last season,” he said.

“We were not able to kill or finish off teams simply because we lacked the energy and speed going forward but this time around in this game and even the games we were using as preparatory matches before the season, they were giving us this speed going forward. At the same time we now have a chance of hurting our opponents.”

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