CAPS United turned on the style to thrash Mozambican side Esterella de Beira yesterday, with Zimbabwe international midfielder Archford Gutu opening his account for the Green Machine with a beautiful free-kick, in their pre-season game in Beira yesterday. Makepekepe, who conceded a goal in the last seven minutes in their first game, in the four-team tournament, which ended 1-1 after Leonard Tsipa had given them the lead, reserved their best for the final tie with a brilliant all-round show.
Moses Muchenje gave the Harare giants the lead in the fifth minute and, three minutes later, Gutu converted a free-kick, catching the ‘keeper off guard with a beauty, as the Green Machine overwhelmed their opponents.
Dominic Chungwa then added a third after the break. CAPS United coach, Lloyd Chitembwe, said he was not concerned about the results but the performance of his men. “It wasn’t about results but the performance today and I am happy with how the boys applied themselves,” the coach said. “Today we played a whole different team because we wanted to give everyone a chance.
“We believe in these (new) players, that is why we signed them. “We have always wanted an environment that has players of more or less the same ability. It puts pressure on the other guys to perform. “I am extremely happy to have players like Uche (Gutu), Josta (Joel Ngodzo) and Gahadzikwa (Allen) competing for one or two positions, you know you have a good squad.
“We are three, four weeks into pre-season so we are not worried about our strikers. They will be sharper when the right time comes.” Given that CAPS United forwards scored four goals, in their two games in Beira, one wonders what will happen if Chitembwe’s forward line begins to fire to the expectations of their coach.
The Green Machine will leave Beira today for Chimoio where they will stay for 10 days as part of their pre-season training camp in Mozambique. CAPS United are also expected to travel to South Africa for a date against Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits. Club president Farai Jere said the results from Beira were encouraging.
“As a club that has the ambition of winning big things I think it is important that we get into the habit of winning very early and as the leadership I think we are encouraged by what came out of the two games in Beira because the reports that we are getting are good,” said Jere.
“I am one of those people who believe that winning is a habit and a team like ours should always fight to try and win every game we play, it might not be possible at times because in football you don’t win all the games but we should always fight for the sake of our reputation and our fans.
“I have been talking to the coaches and the reports that I got from our two matches in Beira are very encouraging and while this is still pre-season, it’s important that we show that we are a team that can win games and now they are going to Chimoio for a training camp we believe it will be very beneficial and when they come back home they should be in better shape to face the challenges that lie ahead.
“This year should be an interesting one for us and we are all confident that if everything goes according to plan, given the players that we have brought into the team and the support staff that is working with them, we will have a very competitive team and we owe it to our fans to have a team that makes them smile with good results on the pitch.”
Makepekepe have not won the league championship since 2005 when Charles Mhlauri and his men won back-to-back titles.
The Green Machine have invested heavily in a number of players during the off-season and some of their fans believe that the arrival of players like Gutu, who chose CAPS United after having earlier appeared to be going back to his old club Dynamos, could provide the cutting edge for the team in their quest for the league title.
Ngodzo’s return to form, turning himself into one of the best players on the domestic scene towards the end of last year and forcing his way into the Warriors’ CHAN squad, has fuelled expectations among the fans while the return of the experienced crew, led by former skipper Method Mwanjali, should provide the experience needed.