By Eddie Chikamhi
CAPS United conceded their first goal of the season but their superior firepower meant they easily crushed Bulawayo Chiefs to continue their flying start to the new Castle Lager Premiership football campaign at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
The Green Machine were always in control of this match and, while their decision to somehow to become complacent in the final stages of this match was as surprising as it was unprofessional, they were deserved winners.
The return of playmaker, Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo, from long-term injury, was also another massive plus for Makepekepe with his late introduction being wildly cheered by the fans.
And CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe yesterday lauded his team’s technical and tactical acumen after the Harare giants were involved in a goal harvest against hapless Bulawayo Chiefs to continue with their fine start to the season.
The Green Machine made light work of the minnows with goals from their speed merchant Gabriel Nyoni, Dominic Chungwa and Joel Ngodzo after Chiefs midfielder Takunda Muzuva had handed the hosts the lead via an own goal under pressure to defend from a corner in the 11th minute.
Arthur Musiyiwa got the consolation goal for Amakhosi Amahle midway through the second half to give Chiefs their first goal of the season. Interestingly this was also the first time the CAPS United defence was breached in their opening four games.
The Green Machine coach Chitembwe was still pleased with his team’s overall performance although his side appeared to have slackened up in the second half.
Makepekepe, who welcomed back Chitiyo from injury for the first time in two years, remained unbeaten after four games with 10 points. Chitiyo got a rapturous applause from his side’s supporters and Chitembwe gave him the last five minutes on the pitch yesterday.
“I am very happy with the application by the boys. They were very organised especially in the first 20-30 minutes. Technically the boys showed that they are at another level.
“We were very good technically and we also looked very organised and tactically I thought Method (Mwanjale) was a beacon in defence. Generally, I thought our ball possession and retention was very good.
“We knew one day we were obviously going to win by four or five goals and the good thing is that it has come early in the season.
“But what makes me happy about the goals is that it was shared by three members of the attack which in itself gives us confidence that we have a very potent strikeforce and I am very happy about that,” said Chitembwe.
The Green Machine dominated the exchanges from the start and they surged ahead early when Muzuva, in his desperate attempt to keep John Zhuwawu under check in a corner kick situation, ended up turning the ball into his own nets.
Nyoni doubled the lead when he expertly controlled an aerial ball from Mwanjale which cut across the whole length of the pitch and landed inside the penalty box.
The pacy forward used his chest well to subdue the high ball and neatly chipped over the badly exposed goalkeeper David Bizabani for Makepekepe’s second goal of the afternoon via the upright post.
CAPS United came back from the breather with the same zest and they added another goal through Chungwa whose perfect diving header from a cross by Phineas Bamusi snuggled to the far left of the goalkeeper.
Ngodzo then killed off the game with a well-taken shot from inside the box after Nyoni had won the ball in a tight hustle with two defenders at the by-line.
Chiefs could have hit back at the hour mark when Thomas Chideu beat the off-side trap in a counter-attack but the former Zimbabwe youth international failed to take his shot on time before the defenders recovered.
Makepekepe were not so lucky three minutes later when goalkeeper Chigumba failed to deal with a high ball, leaving Musiyiwa to head into an empty goal at the back post.
This was the first goal for Bulawayo Chiefs and it was also the first time Makepekepe have conceded in four games apiece. Chiefs had not scored in over 360 minutes of Premiership action this year.
Bulawayo Chiefs, who sit at the bottom of the table, have lost all their four games this season and assistant coach Thulani Sibanda felt they gave Makepekepe too much respect yesterday.
“The way we approached the game, we gave CAPS United a lot of respect. We talked about it at half-time and told the boys that we can match these guys and look, the whole of the second half I think we were the better team.
“Unfortunately those guys were sitting on a comfortable lead and it was always going to be difficult for us,” said Sibanda.
CAPS United: P. Chigumba, V. Musarurwa, V. Ndaba, M. Mwanjale, G. Goriyati, B. Sarupinda, P. Bhamusi, J. Ngodzo (K. Nyamupfukudza, 89th minute), G. Nyoni (N. Sianchali, 70th minute), J. Zhuwawu, D. Chungwa (R. Chitiyo, 86th minute).
Bulawayo Chiefs: D. Bizabani, S. Nyahwa, A. Musiyiwa, M. Mkolo, L. Matizirofa, T. Muzuva, T. Mthimkhulu (T. Chideu, 31st minute), L. Ndlela (S. Mhlanga, 56th minute), B. Mpofu, K. Chakanyuka (M. Majika, 65th minute), P. Sibanda. The Herald