Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
AFTER being handed a three-year deal in charge of CAPS United, coach Lloyd Chitembwe now wants to turn the Green Machine into a force that wins honours at home and fights for titles in continental football.
Chitembwe was rewarded for a decent finish to the championship by CAPS United when the gaffer was given a three-year contract that should now see the former Zimbabwe midfielder turn around Makepekepe’s fortunes.
CAPS United have endured a long spell without any silverware and have, in the past five years in particular, lived in the shadows of their bitter city rivals Dynamos, who were turned into a dominant force that virtually swept all before them under Callisto Pasuwa, who made history by becoming the first coach to guide a Premiership club to four successive championship titles.
Following the management changes at CAPS United, the Green Machine’s chiefs turned to their club legend Chitembwe to come back on board for the last eight league games of the season as they sought to avoid the ignominy of fighting against relegation yet again.
Chitembwe did not disappoint either with the former CAPS United midfield hardman who also played professional football in Poland, guiding his team to four wins, three draws and a loss with the only blemish being a 2-1 defeat by ZPC Kariba at Nyamhunga.
That fine run, which was spiced by comprehensive 3-1 and 3-0 home wins over Highlanders and How Mine and a crucial 1-0 away triumph over Hwange at the Colliery, convinced club president Farai Jere and his leadership to hand Chitembwe a longer term in charge of the dressing room.
The seasoned coach received a Christmas gift when penning the agreement with Jere on December 24 with the CAPS United boss also revealing that they had also given three-year contracts to Chitembwe’s backroom staff.
With his future secured, Chitembwe yesterday vowed to repay the faith reposed in him by Jere and his management with an even better 2016 season and the years to follow.
Chitembwe, who praised the squad at his disposal, also paid tribute to the CAPS United management for agreeing to strengthen their player base and yesterday Makepekepe, who have been quick off the blocks to sign players, secured the services of midfielder Cabby Kamhapa from Triangle United.
The CAPS United coach argued that his club needed to match their reputation by constantly playing continental football and winning honours on the domestic front.
Chitembwe also reckoned that the signing of a contract was a positive move for both the club and him as it would ensure he focuses on his job knowing he has the confidence of the CAPS United chiefs and supporters.
“I think it is good for both the club and myself but I think more importantly it is about the trust that has been bestowed on me.
“It is something that is very special and I really feel I have an obligation to make sure that I repay the kind of trust given to me by the club and particularly by Mr Jere.
“I also feel an obligation to make sure our fans are happy and it is my responsibility to make sure that I live by those expectations. The fans have been there for me and for the club during hard times and I feel I have a duty to do that,’’ Chitembwe said.
Chitembwe also looked back with satisfaction on his somewhat “probation period” and felt he only needs to build on from the manner in which they completed the season.
“I think there are certain things that I think were very well done by the team and by team I mean everyone at CAPS United . . . special credit to the players though for responding very well when I came on board’’.
But it is the need for CAPS United to become a force again that Chitembwe said he would be putting much emphasis on next season.
“Going forward, we have an obligation to improve on the areas that we didn’t do well so that we have a very good team on and off the pitch. Personally, I believe that CAPS United have everything to be a powerhouse in football and there is no reason why we can’t be up there with the best.
“A club of CAPS United’s magnitude deserves to be playing at such stages like Champions League or Confederations Cup . . . We need to be performing against the top teams in Africa, ’’ Chitembwe said.
Chitembwe also lauded the environment prevailing at CAPS United now, which he believes has created a platform for success and revealed that the Premiership giants have not yet put a lid on their transfer swoops.
“The atmosphere at CAPS United is very green and gives an aura to motivate the players. I think it is for each and every coach to try and improve on the playing staff.
“Generally, we are very happy with the team we had last year but there is always need to improve. Obviously, there are some new players coming in just to try and improve on a good team that is already there, I am talking of the Methods (Mwanjali), Pfumbidzais (Ronald) and Simbas (Nhivi) of this world.
“All those that are coming will add onto our strength and the challenge is to keep the team performing the way they did in the last season and I hope they will remain as committed and interested as they were when I came on board but I am happy that performance is something we coaches can control.
“Ever since I joined CAPS United I have not seen any negatives about the boys and the club and it is something we need to maintain. I am also happy that the players responded to my call to fight for recognition and now we have players to do that.
“I still feel we have players who can make it into the national team like Dominic Mukandi, Pfumbidzai and Method and it is up to them to keep working hard and get recognition,’’ said Chitembwe.
Big goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda has also rejoined CAPS United ahead of the 2016 season in which Chitembwe and his men will come under the spotlight, especially against the background of a club management that is pulling out all the stops to create a winning environment for them.