Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
CAPS United . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 (1)
Mutare City Rovers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe is convinced his team is now ready to get their Castle Lager Premiership campaign moving following a strong pre-season build-up which saw them edging newboys Mutare City in a friendly match at Gwanzura yesterday. Dominic Chungwa made the difference when he scored a brilliant goal late in the second half to lift Makepekepe after the visitors had staged a good fight.
The teams agreed to play an hour each half to test for physical conditioning and endurance and Chitembwe yesterday said his boys are getting in the right shape. The league is set to begin in three weeks and Makepekepe have been training for almost two months now.
They even had the privilege to go on a 10-day pre-season training camp in Mozambique recently where they also played a number of preparatory matches. Chitembwe said the game against Mutare City yesterday also helped him to address the negative attitude by his players towards the smaller teams after Makepekepe had struggled in the opening 45 minutes.
They had a tepid first half but the introduction of players such as Simba Nhivi, Tafadzwa Rusike, Justice Jangano, Cabby Kamhapa and Archford Gutu gave them fresh inspiration. “Absolutely there is progress and we are happy with the way things are going for us,” said Chitembwe.
“Maybe what I can only say disappointed me today was probably the lack of preparedness shown especially by the team that started. “We thought it was just going to be an ordinary game and later on after half time, after a bit of some talk with the boys, they responded quite positively and as the technical we are happy.
“We are satisfied. It’s coming up and I am sure we are just waiting for the season to start. We are happy,” said Chitembwe. Makepekepe, who are looking to relaunch their bid for the championship this year, open their campaign at home against Chapungu before travelling to newboys Ngezi Platinum early April.
The Green Machine yesterday had a fair chance of scoring opportunities but their finishing was not always clinical. But then Chungwa atoned for all the errors with a classy finish on the 78th minute when he controlled the ball at the edge of the penalty box and shot on the turn to beat goalkeeper Phillip Nhete who had been impressive on the afternoon.
“Of course I am quite happy because what’s more important is the ability to be in those scoring positions. So we are very happy the players are getting there. “You can’t win a match against a league team 15-0, usually it’s not practical. Even if we are to play Real Madrid today they will never beat us for 20.
“At the end of the day what is important is that as a coach are you satisfied with a lot of aspects of your team, the physical aspect, technical aspect the tactical aspect and I am sure we are almost there,” said Chitembwe. Mutare City will play in the Premiership for the first time this season and their coach Kennedy Kachara was happy with his team’s showing.
With a bit of lucky and precision, they could have at least got a goal yesterday but Shelton Gurure and Steven “Dealer” Sibanda spurned two good opportunities in the opening half. Rovers featured a number of Premiership veterans like Caleb Masocha, Smart Muchabaiwa, Beavan Chirere, Chastern Ngondonga, Wonder Sithole and goalkeeper Nhete.
Their squad has many former Buffaloes players who also include Patrick Alifasi and Admire Dzumbunu. “Our preparations are going on well and the game we played with CAPS United demonstrated to us that our team can match any team in the league.
“We had to call the experienced players so that they strengthen our team. We needed the balance. We have a strong side and I am very happy and confident with the boys,” said Kachara.