Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
HARARE giants CAPS United have insisted they will not press the panic button after failing to take the initiative once again on Sunday when they allowed Hwange to snatch a point leading to mini-protests by a section of their supporters. A group of supporters gathered at the exit of Rufaro after the 1-1 draw with Hwange criticising their coach Lloyd Chitembwe, his team selection and tactics with some even suggesting that they needed a new coach for the job.
The supporters were also not happy with goalkeeper Joram Muchambo who they accused of making unnecessary blunders. However, the club’s chief executive Cuthbert Chitima yesterday said it was disturbing that there were some negative forces ganging up against the team at a time when the side is enjoying one of its best starts in recent years.
The Green Machine are currently third on the log standings with 25 points, one behind leaders Highlanders and second-placed FC Platinum. At this stage last year CAPS United were lying sixth with 19 points.
CAPS United could have returned to the top on Sunday with a win over Hwange with Highlanders losing 2-0 to Chicken Inn at Barbourfields. Chitembwe’s men, despite dominating play for longer periods, missed a glut of scoring opportunities and then succumbed to an 86th minute equaliser from the boot of their former player Pervington Zimunya.
Defender Justice Jangano had put them ahead in the first half. The result did not go down well with a section of the fans.
“Personally, I didn’t witness those scenes but there is definitely no need to panic if we look at our position on the log standings. After all, we didn’t lose that match and that point we got counts. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t score more goals but I think the team played well and created a lot of chances.
“Remember we are in a marathon and you can’t always be winning all the matches. Along the way you drop points which doesn’t necessarily mean that you are out. Right now we have played only 12 games and there are still 18 more,” said Chitima.
“But we will need to get reports from the security personnel and from the supporters’ chapters, as well, to get a better understanding of exactly what transpired so that we know what course of action to take.
“It’s disturbing because we have supporters’ representatives at board level and we also have well organised supporters’ structures. Their representatives even have the right to call for an audience with the board. So there are channels to follow if there are any grievances.
“So I don’t think whatever happened was coming from genuine supporters. Probably there could be some elements that want to distract progress. “It will be very unfortunate for us to have supporters who decide to lose faith in the coach when the team is where it is right now. If we are to compare with the other seasons, this should probably be one of the best performance in 12 games.
“But things like that are not necessary at all because right now we are busy chasing potential sponsors to partner us but when people start behaving like that it becomes difficult to convince them to come to football.”
CAPS United use the National Sports Stadium as their home ground but on Sunday they wanted to experiment with Rufaro, which is more central. Chitembwe was not happy with the missed opportunities but he tipped his players to bounce back from the disappointment as they prepare for a tougher assignment against FC Platinum at Mandava this Saturday.
“It’s not really about dropping points. What’s more important for us is to be with the leading pack and I’m sure we have done well to be there. This is the nature of the game, you drop points and you gain points,” said Chitembwe.
Log leaders Highlanders failed to extend their lead at the top when they fell 2-0 to defending champions Chicken Inn courtesy of goals from Obadiah Tarumbwa and Clement Matawu.
FC Platinum climbed into second place with an away 2-1 win over Mutare City. Midfielder Rodwell Chinyengetere and defender Elvis Moyo gave the platinum miners maximum points to move into second place with a game in hand. Norman Mapeza’s men could take control of the race tomorrow if they get a point from their rescheduled fixture against Chicken Inn at Barbourfields.