CAPS Utd gear up for bruising battles OILING THE MACHINE.... CAPS United assistant coach Fungai Kwashi and striker Courage Sithole pose for a photograph during the contract signing ceremony this week.

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

GIANTS CAPS United are looking to turn around their fortunes in the second half of the 2023 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League campaign after unveiling two new players to boost their squad.

Utility man Eric Manokore is the latest player to join the Green Machine from army side Cranborne Bullets. The midfielder is one of the two mid-season signings after joining striker Courage Sithole, signed last week from Division One side PAM United.

CAPS United assistant coach Fungai Tostao Kwashi believes the duo will add firepower upfront as the second half of the season kicks off this weekend.

“We have signed two quality players. Manokore, they called him Cantona at Cranborne Bullets. He has been doing well. He is probably one of the best performing players in the first half and probably the best midfielder in the country,” said Kwashi.

The CAPS United assistant coach spoke glowingly off their new signings.

“Our coach Lloyd Chitembwe was one of the best midfielders Zimbabwe has ever had, hence we trust he has a good eye for good midfielders as well.

“So, we welcome Manokore into our team. We also have a young striker here (Sithole) from PAM. He is a goal scorer, he is still coming up and we don’t want too much pressure on him but we know with the trainings we have, the motivation he has and the good professionals we have in our team he will come good.

“So we are happy with our two signings so far. We have added one attacker and one midfielder but Eric can play as a defender sometimes.

“He is a utility player and can play as an attacking midfielder as well. We hope they will deliver but I know they will because they have a good mindset, they are good professionals.

“I have only worked with them for a short period of time but you can already see the quality they possess. We hope they will fight for the Green Machine badge and make the team successful in the upcoming second round of fixtures,” said Kwashi.

Makepekepe are set to return to the trenches tomorrow when they travel to Gibbo to face Manica Diamonds. They need to bounce back from the 1-2 defeat at the hands of Herentals in the last game of the first round matches at Mandava last week.

Makepekepe are seventh on the log standings after experiencing both highs and lows in the first half of the season. They have 24 points from 17 games, and are 13 points adrift of pace setters Highlanders.

Just like most of the clubs, whose home grounds are not in good shape, they will need to contend with the continued shuttling for both home and away games.

“The guys have prepared well. In terms of recovery and the road trips, of course we know it’s taxing but at this juncture we are not complaining.

“We just have to be men enough and adapt to the situation as we all know there is a shortage of stadiums in the country.

“We don’t have to take it as an excuse. At the end of the day the CAPS United fans want three points, the club president wants three points, the coaches want three points, our families want three points and the players as well want three points.

“We want to win football games. So we are not going to use the travelling as an excuse. We just have to go there, apply ourselves and fight for each other and hope the grace of God will lead us to the Promised Land,” said Kwashi.

CAPS United beat Manica Diamonds 2-0 in the opening game of the season. But tables have since turned as the Gem Boys are enjoying better returns. Jairos Tapera’s side ended the first half of the season on third position, with 29 points.

“Football is a beautiful game. We have already forgotten about that 2-0 win over Manica Diamonds (in the first game of the season). It’s water under the bridge and on Sunday it’s a new ball game altogether,” said Kwashi.

“Manica Diamonds are a strong team. They have actually signed new players (Tawanda) Macheke who was playing in South Africa and they are reinforcing their team.

“So they are not pushovers. They have experienced players, they have a very good technical team led by Jairos Tapera. So we are expecting a big battle,” said Kwashi.

Fixtures:

Today: GreenFuel v Yadah (Gibbo), FC Platinum v Simba Bhora (Mandava), Ngezi Platinum v Bulawayo Chiefs (Baobab), Black Rhinos v Cranborne Bullets (Bata), Chicken Inn v Sheasham (Luveve), ZPC Kariba v Highlanders (Nyamhunga)

Tomorrow: Manica Diamonds v CAPS United (Gibbo), Herentals v Triangle (Mandava), Dynamos v Hwange (Barbourfields)

 

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