By Augustine Hwata
REMEMBER Laughter Chilembe, the skipper of the CAPS United ship in 2005? Well the former Zambian international still has a soft spot for the Green Machine and yesterday poured out his heart for the team.
“I am just back in Harare for a visit and its unfortunate that the Zimbabwe league has just ended otherwise I could have watched a game or two.
“But its sad to notice that CAPS United have not performed well this season. I have been following reports on the team from my base in Zambia and its pains me to find that the team is not doing well.
“As a former player for the team, I am hoping to contribute in any way possible to bring back the success we witnessed during 2004 and 2005,” said Chilembe. After quitting CAPS United at the end of 2005, Chilembe went to Zambia were he joined Power Dynamos in 2006/7.
He then went to Cape Town at the invitation of former CAPS United teammate Joseph Kamwendo but never got a contract. “I visited Joseph in Cape Town in 2007 but never played there because of some personal problems but I later returned to Zambia and joined National Assembly in the top league,” he said.
Now running on a pair of 38-year-old legs, Chilembe hopes that the Green Machine will once again be a force to reckon with. “My contract with National Assembly has expired and one day I would love to be part of CAPS United family maybe as player/coach.
“CAPS United are still in my heart and I hope to meet Twine Phiri and Farai Jere just to pay a courtesy call. Maybe I will help them organise a pre-season training camp in Zambia next year,” said Chilembe.
Chilembe took over the captain’s armband after David Sengu had deserted the team during a tour in September 2005. “This season is over but I pray that CAPS United will do well next season and give a good fight for the championship,” he said.
A tough tackling defender for both club and country at the peak of his powers, Chilembe was part of the foreign legion at the all-conquering CAPS United squad that included midfielder Ian Bakala and the Malawian duo of Kamwendo and Hajdi Tambala.
“I remember those days with Charles Mhlauri as coach, we had an academy that churned out players into the senior team. From the current squad, I notice that young (Washington) Pakamisa came through the system.
“Remember when we went to the UK and some players decided to stay behind but we still had depth to win the championship that season. These days CAPS is relying on buying players and its not helping much,” he said.
Chilembe, however, remains hopeful that like a proverbial Phoenix, CAPS United will rise once again. The Green Machine have been pummelled into submission by their bitter rivals Dynamos in all their meetings over the past three years.
“I know that CAPS United can do much better and my hope is that Mr Phiri and Mr Jere work out and win the championship.
“Maybe I do not know much about the current players, but our squad used to work for a purpose. Our main purpose was to win points and that pushed us to get positive results. Of course we also aimed to get winning bonuses.
“Right now I do not know if the present team has the heart to fight like lions,” said Chilembe. With his native Zambia winning the African Cup of Nations early this year, Chilembe has warned Chipolopolo that is till not be easy to defend their trophy next time.
“I am very proud that the team won the Nations Cup but there is need to work and retain the trophy. Lets hope they will work hard and win it instead of winning it on paper before its played,” said Chilembe. The Herald