Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
CAPS United players were in combative mood yesterday when they left for North Africa where they hope to turn the tables on Libyan giants Al Ahli Tripoli in the CAF Champions League Group B match on Wednesday night. Makepekepe left for Tunisia yesterday with 18 players, including goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda, Dennis Dauda and Valentine Musarurwa who missed the previous match which they lost 2-4 at home. The Green Machine were boosted by mobile cellular network giants NetOne who chipped in a big way to make the trip possible as part of their partnership. CAPS were led by their chief executive Cuthbert Chitima and ZIFA councillor Gaylord Madhunguza as head of delegation.
The match will be played at the Stade Taïeb Mhiri in Sfax at 11pm (10pm Tunisian time) on Wednesday. The Libyans have adopted Tunisia as their home ground for the CAF matches because of the political instability in their country. Midfielder Ronald Chitiyo, the man who has spearheaded CAPS United’s campaign this year, yesterday said the Harare giants are keen to bounce back after the setback in their last match.
“Playing away is a bit difficult but at the same time we have to stand our ground in this competition. They beat us here, so why not us beating them there?
“That game is very important for us because if we win it, we will be back in the race. It’s still an open group. Everyone in the team wants to win, so we are going to play as a team. I am sure we are all going to put in 100 percent effort. But obviously it’s going to be a tough match because that team have the confidence from the fact that they beat us here in Harare,” said Chitiyo.
The diminutive midfielder warmed up to the trip with a goal in their 3-0 demolition of Bantu Rovers last week with Dominic Chungwa and Amon Kambanje also putting their names on the score-sheet.
Vice-captain Dauda, who missed the first meeting between the teams at the National Sports Stadium two weeks ago, believes Makepekepe have the balance which lacked in the first leg. Coach Lloyd Chitembwe has almost all his players available except for long-term casualty Leonard Tsipa and midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike who are still down with knocks.
“If we focus and keep our heads up I think we can conquer. Tripoli are not a team that you can say is invincible,” said Dauda.
“We can compete with that team. I don’t want to take this as an excuse but the last time they beat us here we had a depleted team.
“We were missing some of our players through injuries but this time we have an almost full team. So it must be a very competitive game and we are confident we can get the three points.”
Assistant coach Fungai Kwashi said they were in a good state of mind.
“We are confident in ourselves. We are going to work hard and we have been praying hard as well. Hopefully, we will come back with a positive result not only for the club but for the whole nation,” said Kwashi.
CAPS Utd squad:
Edmore Sibanda, Prosper Chigumba, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Valentine Musarurwa, Dennis Dauda, Carlton Munzabwa, Justice Jangano, Cabby Kamhapa, Kudzanai Nyamupfukudza, Devon Chafa, Moses Muchenje, Joel Ngodzo, Ronald Chitiyo, Phineas Bamusi, Abbas Amidu, Dominic Chungwa, Amon Kambanje.