Tadious Manyepo-Sports Reporter
AFTER seeing his charges punch way below their weight in the opening half of the season, CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe is optimistic the Harare giants will turn things around in the second phase.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League resumes today after a two-week mid-season break. Makepekepe endured one of their worst opening halves in years as sit-ins took centre stage with financial problems crippling the Harare side.
The Green Machine have collected just 17 points in as many encounters and sit only a single point above the team occupying the last relegation slot.
While there is no immediate solution to the financial situation at the Green Machine, Chitembwe is looking forward to a good second half of the season.
His team opens the second half of the season with a date against ZPC Kariba at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
“For a fact, the first half of the season wasn’t the best phase for us. It was a very disappointing stretch but look, you can’t live with it, we have to put that behind us and look forward to the final half of the season with optimism,” said Chitembwe.
“We need to go out there with belief. We should win matches and play better than we did in the first half of the marathon.”
The CAPS United gaffer said his players should apply themselves well if they are to pick up the maximum points against ZPC Kariba. The Kariba team are struggling as well but they seem to have struck the right chords with the recent appointment of Rodwell Dhlakama as their new head coach.
The former Ngezi Platinum Stars gaffer has roped in ex-CAPS United mentor Darlington Dodo as his assistant.
And the latter has institutional memory of how Makepekepe play having last been in charge of them late last year.
But Chitembwe is not reading much into that as he prepares his team for the ZPC Kariba clash. “As we prepare for the game against ZPC Kariba (on Sunday), we know what’s important is to apply ourselves well.
“I am looking forward to seeing my team applying themselves in the best manner that I know they are capable of.
“We do believe in the quality we have in the team and we know the match against ZPC Kariba will be very tough.”
Midfielder Ben Musaka could finally feature for the Green Machine after recovering from a long-term injury.
Musaka joined Makepekepe early this year from Harare City but he has been on the sidelines.
“We are very excited with the return of Ben Musaka (from injury). He has never featured in the team but he has now bounced back from the injury and we are confident he will give us the impetus we need. He is showing the dimension we need in the way we play and that is a huge plus for us.
“We have been working on the main playing concepts in training, we can’t really re-invent football but I have noticed encouraging signs from my players in terms of their mental attitude. They look very much settled, the desire, the passion all that…
“I last saw that kind of energy some time ago and it is something very encouraging.”