By Godknows Matarutse
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe is confident that his side will start picking up maximum points despite a difficult start to their Castle Lager Premiership title defence.
Makepekepe’s season has been largely interrupted by their participation in the African Champions League where they reached the group stages of the competition before finishing fourth in their pool.
This has seen the Zimbabwean champions play only 12 league games while most teams have thus far reached 19 matches.
With a huge fixture backlog, United have had to play catch up and have only picked one point in their last four matches to leave them just two places off the bottom 16 points.
However, Chitembwe is not losing sleep over their league position as they can still climb to second place if they win their seven games in hand.
United resume the fight to clear their fixture backlog with a trip to Bulawayo where they face in-form Chicken Inn at Luveve Stadium this afternoon.
“I think the players know what they want and as a team we all know what we want,” Chitembwe told the Daily News ahead of the team’s departure for Bulawayo yesterday.
“I think it’s important that we start picking maximum points. It is true we have had a rough patch but we must pick ourselves up and soldier on. I am still confident that we can fight for the league.”
Due to their Champions League exploits, Makepekepe have already lost forward Abbas Amidu to Saudi side Al Wehdah Club and midfielder Ronald Chitiyo to Tunisian side Sfaxian.
Defender Ronald Pumbidzai is currently on trials with South African side Bloemfontein Celtic while defender Dennis Dauda was shipped out to Yadah FC.
Other clubs have also expressed interest in some of the remaining Makepekepe players as the international transfer window is still open.
After losing a number of their established stars, the club has welcomed former defender Stephen Makatuka from South Africa after a stint with AmaZulu.
“Yes, Makatuka has been training with us and he is looking really good,” Chitembwe said.
“I think it’s very good to have him back. His presence will obviously bring stability. He is someone we know what he offers us and we are looking forward to seeing him on the field of play.”
This is not the first time Makepekepe have sold key players at one go after a continental football campaign. In 2010, the Green Machine sold Nyasha Mushekwi and Method Mwanjali to Mamelodi Sundowns after participating in the African Confederation Cup.
During the same window, the club also accepted bids for Khama Billiat, Tafadzwa Rusike and Oscar Machapa from Ajax Cape Town and Moroka Swallows respectively.
That season, CAPS went on to finish in sixth place on the log despite selling these key players. Daily News