Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
FORMER CAPS United coach Charles Mhlauri has described Makepekepe’s historic Champions League success story as a landmark milestone in the club’s quest for greatness. The gaffer, who guided Makepekepe to back-to-back league titles in 2004 and 2005, also conceded that this was the Green Machine’s finest hour. “Allow me to congratulate CAPS United for their finest moment,’’ Mhlauri told The Herald from his base in the United States.
“OMG! (Oh My God). This is fantastic, let’s celebrate. The team’s commitment has paid off. This will surely count as the most amazing achievement to happen this year and years to come.
“Lloyd Chitembwe and his team have secured a great achievement for the club and the country. This is a great team and you don’t need to decorate them, their results speak volumes.
“Well done boys! This is a milestone. To qualify in the last 16 is no mean achievement. “Congratulations to Farai Jere and his executive, this is a magnificent moment. I wish them all the best going forward.
“Congratulations for the achievements.”
ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa, who was given a standing ovation by the fans at the giant stadium when he appeared on the pitch for the pre-match handshakes, also saluted the Green Machine.
“I want to congratulate the whole CAPS United structure for masterminding what will go down as probably one of the biggest upsets in this competition, defeating a club with a history of success,” said the COSAFA boss.
“CAPS United’s success couldn’t have come at a better moment, the moment when Southern Africa is strengthening its hold on African football as witnessed by our own Ahmad’s ascendancy to CAF presidency.
“I can only encourage the team to aspire to achieve more, now that they know that anything is possible; why not go for the trophy itself.’’
Former club president Twine Phiri believes the Green Machine can even emulate Mamelodi Sundowns and win the Champions League this year.
“I am more than happy with the way these guys played and progressed. I can see us getting to the final,” said the Harare businessman who was part of the crowd at the giant stadium.
“We have played one of the best teams in Africa, TP Mazembe, and won.
“I think we can even go all the way to the final and win the Champions League title.’’
CAPS United legend Carlos Max praised Chitembwe’s men.
“I think TP Mazembe are overrated and we showed them that there was nothing special about them,’’ said Max.
“This is good for Zimbabwean football, going forward in this tournament.
“The coach (Lloyd Chitembwe) has a good squad which is committed. They have been a family unit for some time now and it is all up to the coaching department to concentrate on their games home and away in the group stages.’’
PSL leader and Dynamos president Kenny Mubaiwa also congratulated their bitter rivals.
“I say congratulations to CAPS United. This victory is good for Zimbabwean football and we just hope CAPS United’s performance will bring us back the two slots in the Champions League,” said Mubaiwa.
Black Rhinos coach Stanford “Stix” M’tizwa, a CAPS United legend, also congratulated the Green Machine.
“I am happy that one of the two clubs that have been participating in CAF tournaments have progressed.
“We hope to see them doing well in the group matches,” said M’tizwa.
Former CAPS United board member Cosmas Nyachiya hailed his club for a job well done.
“I am happy for the whole team, the country, CAPS United supporters and Farai Jere as a person and as a businessman.
“Even Dynamos supporters managed to come and support us, so I am happy for the entire football community,” said Nyachiya.
Footballers Union of Zimbabwe president Desmond Maringwa said this was good for football in this country.
“We qualified for the Nations Cup and people took notice, now we are in the group stages of the Champions League, it shows that something is being done in terms of football. It also speaks of the quality of players we have. Thumbs up to the CAPS United family, players and coaches,” said Maringwa.