By Eddie Chikamhi
CAPS UNITED coach Lloyd Chitembwe yesterday lashed out at the indifferent attitude displayed by his players after the Harare giants crashed to a disappointing home defeat to Ngezi Platinum Stars in a Castle Lager Premiership football match at the National Sports Stadium.
The Green Machine, who appeared a pale shadow of the team that put up a scintillating show against traditional rivals Dynamos in last week’s celebrated Harare Derby, succumbed to first half goals from Donald Teguru and Tichaona Mabvura.
Caps United skipper Hardlife Zvirekwi gave his team a fighting chance when he reduced the arrears just before the breather but there were no further goals in the second half.
Chitembwe chided his players for their lackadaisical approach which obviously left him with a lot to ponder ahead of the upcoming clash away to defending champions and log leaders FC Platinum.
“I think we had very poor performance by our standards. I thought a lot of things went wrong today. Our build-ups were not so good.
“There were a lot of technical mistakes and at the same time I have a feeling that we didn’t play with immediate responsibility, knowing that this game was going to obviously give us a lift going into the next fixture against FC Platinum. I thought we were very very irresponsible in the way we went about our business,” said Chitembwe.
On paper, Ngezi Platinum were supposed to find it difficult against this Caps United side hard-pressed for positive results following a lean spell in the last month that has seen them winning only once in seven outings.
Ngezi have also been going through a difficult phase of their own but the win over Black Rhinos last week helped boost morale ahead of the trip to Harare.
Probably the biggest worry for their coach Erol Akbay was the harsh statistic that they have only won once away this year. But they had all their fears extinguished after Teguru and Mabvura put them ahead in the first half.
The visitors had to deal with Caps United’s patient build-ups from the back and had the Harare giants in the bag when Teguru buried a fine chance from close-range following a good piece of work at the flank by left winger Mandlenkosi Mlilo with 21 minutes on the clock.
Mabvura doubled the lead with a ferocious grounder hit with precision from outside the box and caught the goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba off-guard in the 41st minute.
With pacy winger Phenias Bamusi away on national team duty, Caps United clearly lacked the cutting edge going forward and on many occasions they also botched their intended build-ups from the back, much to the benefit of the visitors.
“You would want the team to consolidate on the gains of the previous match and if you don’t seem to consolidate on the previous gains then you can become very worried.
“It’s disappointing last week we had a very good game and going into this game I thought maybe the boys just took Ngezi Platinum for a ride, that’s my thinking.
“I am yet to ask from them but I am just thinking. Maybe they just took the game easy, probably they thought they were going just to run over them but in football it doesn’t work like that. Every game is a new game.
“If we had played this badly against Dynamos I can assure you that we could have lost that game. All the same we have the whole of this coming week to work on the things that I didn’t see well today.
“Obviously it has a lot to do with the mental aspects, the concentration was poor today, the composure was just not there, you talk of the hunger and the desire, it was just not there.
“On these other aspects of the game I think we can work on but the most crucial is the mental aspect and we will have time to work on that,” said Chitembwe.
Once Ngezi took the lead, it looked like Makepekepe would find it a tall order to come back into the game, with the stunned players convening a caucus on field to see where they were going wrong.
But Zvirekwi ensured that it was not over yet when the visitors made a half clearance from a corner the Green Machine skipper had taken on the right deep in added time of the first half.
When everyone was expecting him to flight another cross, Zvirekwi fired in a low shot that confused everyone, including the goalkeeper Nelson Chadya, in what was to be the last piece of the action before the referee blew his whistle for half-time.
Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Akbay was delighted by the rare win on the road. This was the second time that they have won a match away from their Baobab fortress this season. His side had only won once on the road this season against Bulawayo Chiefs.
“Of course every team that is on the top is difficult to beat but till now we have not lost a game to any of the top teams and we hope to keep it that way,” said Akbay.
“But today the Caps United guys scored a very simple goal. That’s why we have to be very careful when they are on the attack. But our defensive side was also very good, I cannot complain. They had two or three opportunities and that means our defending was very good,” said Akbay.
Caps Utd: P. Chigumba, H. Zvirekwi, C. Rusere (V. Musarurwa, 35th minute), J. Jangano, M. Mwanjale, K. Nyamupfukudza, R. Chitiyo (B. Sarupinda, 75th minute), J. Ngodzo, V. Ndaba (K. Ndebele, 81st minute), D. Chungwa, J. Zhuwawu.
Ngezi Platinum: N. Chadya, M. Mlilo (O. Miniru, v75th minute), Q. Amini, P. Moyo, T. Mchisa, F. Makarati. B. Mtigo, M. Mushonga, T. Mabvura (K. Murera, 53rd minute), N. Ketala, D. Teguru (B. Sahondo, 84th minute). The Chronicle