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CAPS Utd not under pressure: Chitembwe

By Eddie Chikamhi

CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe is impressed by the commitment shown by his players as they prepare for a tough first round of the CAF Champions League tie against former African club champions TP Mazembe next week.

Lloyd Chitembwe
Lloyd Chitembwe

Makepekepe need to beat the Congolese giants in a two-legged final qualifier to realise their dream of qualifying to the mini-league phase of the tournament.

The spirit in the Green Machine camp is high on the back of the morale-boosting win over arch-rivals Dynamos in the ZNA Charities semi-finals.

The CAPS United players have also taken to heart the inspiration from club president Farai Jere, who visited them at their training ground on Wednesday afternoon for a pep-talk.

Chitembwe yesterday said Makepekepe were focused for the big task.

“It’s not about TP Mazembe; it’s about us doing what we are supposed to do and for us the focus is on commitment and determination. This is more important. TP Mazembe, I don’t want to talk about them.

“I don’t want to worry myself more about them. I should worry myself more about our commitment and determination. This is what should worry me, but so far I am very happy the commitment is out of this world,” said Chitembwe.

As Makepekepe went through their paces at the giant National Sports Stadium yesterday, the fierce competition for places among the players was on show.

Chitembwe clearly has depth.

Almost all the players were available for training with the likes of Abbas Amidu, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Kudzanayi Nyamupfukudza and Carlton Munzabwa, who missed last week’s win over Dynamos, available for consideration.

CAPS United brushed aside Lioli of Lesotho 2-1 in the preliminary round, but there had been concerns over match fitness and the unacceptably numerous errors especially in defence.

The reigning Zimbabwe football kings had a worthy sparring partner in Dynamos last week when they hammered their opponents 3-1 in the semi-finals of the ZNA Charities.

Chitembwe admitted there is still a lot of work to be done.

“I think we are happy with the progress. I can’t ask for anything more than this.

“For us, the fact that we are still in a preparatory stage is the reason why (we performed the way we did). There is no team in Zimbabwe at the moment that is perfect.

“Probably we are in a better state than most of these teams because we have played some games. So this is expected during this part of the season where the element of match fitness is still a worry.

“But I think some of these mistakes are obviously elementary, maybe being caused by lack of much game practice. So it’s not really something that can bother us.

“You know when the guys are at that level that you expect them to be I am sure they will try and eliminate some of these mistakes. But it’s very difficult to eliminate all mistakes in a game of football,” said Chitembwe.

Their opponents TP Mazembe yesterday warmed up to the home game with a 4-0 thrashing of Lubumbashi Sport in a league game.

They got their goals from double scorer Ben Malago, Zambian international Rainford Kalaba and Meschak Elia, the 2016 CHAN Player of the Tournament.

Chitembwe is concerned with exposing his players to more physical challenges ahead of next week’s big game after Phineas Bamusi and Ronald Chitiyo got knocks in the game against Dynamos.

“It’s difficult (to play practice game). Difficult in the sense that sometimes some of these games are risky, risky in the sense that you risk losing players through some of these games.

“Some teams become too competitive and at the end of the day you risk losing players. So I think it’s about us trying to prepare the team in an environment that is stable and free,” said Chitembwe. The Herald