Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
RONALD PFUMBIDZAI says he has a very good relationship with his coach Lloyd Chitembwe and regrets his conduct on Wednesday when he refused to shake the gaffer in a fit of anger after being substituted in the dying moments of their win over FC Platinum at Rufaro.
The roving wing-back, who is joining South African Premiership side Bloemfontein Celtic, exploded with anger after Chitembwe cautioned him for not acting to instructions, to pass the ball rather than keep possession, in the twilight of the match.
The no-nonsense gaffer then pulled Pfumbidzai out of the match, with the player storming off the pitch and avoiding Chitembwe as he walked to the bench.
He then refused to be counselled by assistant coach Mark Mathe and, as all the CAPS United players — including substitutes and technical staff — went on to salute their fans after the match, Pfumbidzai walked away to the dressing room after having ripped his jersey to the ground.
However, yesterday, the footballer — who is set to play his last game for Makepekepe on Sunday when they host Ngezi Platinum — said he regrets what happened and, on reflection, he should have done better.
Pfumbidzai said he owed a lot to Chitembwe who has transformed his career and made him one of the best players on the domestic Premiership.
The gaffer also has a soft spot for the player and tried, in vain, to delay his move to South Africa for trials with Celtic arguing that he was a vital member of his squad.
Pfumbidzai, who scored against Tsholotsho, provided the winner for defender Steve Makatuka on Wednesday from his dangerous balls whipped from dead ball situations.
“It is so unfortunate that incident happened, especially at such a time when I am leaving the club, and it will have many connotations but the truth of the matter is I am in good books with my coaches and I have always been,’’ he told The Herald.
‘’We talked about the incident after the game.
“My coach knows that I want to win always and I was saying to my teammates ‘let’s go and press high so that we don’t concede,’ and the coach said you are talking while football is being played and I was substituted.
“Maybe, I am different, but I am a very passionate player with a strong fighting spirit and I don’t like to be substituted. I am one person who can play with an injury.
“Last year I played a number of matches with a shoulder injury because I was itching to play and not miss action.
“You know CAPS United have been down so I badly wanted to finish the game and make sure we collect three points.
“I love my team and I was not angry at the coach, it happened in the heat of the moment but everyone was cool with it after the game and even my teammates understood me.
“But sometimes people sitting on the terraces don’t understand some of these gestures. I think the match against Ngezi on Sunday will be my last match for the club and once again I will give my 100 percent.”
Club president Farai Jere said CAPS United will always be ready to forgive Pfumbidzai.
“He is a fiery character and if he was someone else who didn’t want to help us he would have stopped playing some time ago or not devoting himself fully to our cause once he knew he was going to South Africa,’’ he said.
“But he has been there for us and giving 100 percent effort and I know our coach, he is a professional man who only looks at what is best for the team and doesn’t carry grudges with his players because he is above them and he is their father and they have a good relationship with Ronnie.
“Let’s concentrate on the next assignment.’’
Pfumbidzai becomes the latest CAPS United star to join a foreign club with midfielders Abbas Amidu and Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo sealing their deals.
He had a short stint with Danish club Hobro IK.
Yesterday, he paid tribute to his club, teammates and Chitembwe.
“I am happy with the way things have turned out. I am moving to a bigger platform where I can showcase my talent. I thank my club, my teammates and my coaches for helping me to achieve this and I wish them well,’’ said Pfumbidzai.
“I hope they will continue with the fighting spirit.
“I also hope that as I leave the club, I will continue with the form that I was enjoying at CAPS United, I have hit top form and was really enjoying my football.
“When I went to Denmark I was not yet experienced. I didn’t know what was expected from a player at such a professional stage but this time I now know what is expected and know exactly what to do.’’
CAPS United officials have asked their fans to come in big numbers on Sunday to give Pfumbidzai a befitting farewell after his starring role for the Green Machine in which he helped them win the league championship last year and topped the assists table in the country with 19.