Grace Chingoma : Senior Sports Reporter
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe says they are not getting carried away by their superb performance and deserved victory over Highlanders and expects a tough match against Tsholotsho at Luveve this afternoon. The Green Machine are still basking in glory of beating Bosso in a top-of-the-table clash which saw them swap places, but the coach says his men still have a number of tough hurdles to leap, including the tricky tie against Tsholotsho.Makepekepe will be making their second trip to the City of Kings in as many weeks after they lost 0-1 to Highlanders at Barbourfields.
However, the Green Machine were the better team in that game, but they lost their way after Leonard Tsipa was sent off for head-butting a Bosso defender in the second half.
CAPS United have won once in Bulawayo this season, beating Chicken Inn, while they also lost to Bosso and How Mine.
“We expect a very difficult game. These games are not easy. Our league has improved a lot and it very competitive,” said Chitembwe.
“It is our wish to keep performing well. I wish we will play the same type of game we played in our last game.
“The last time we played Tsholotsho they were good. Technically they are sound, good tactically and very organised.”
Chitembwe has decided to rest midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike, who produced a stellar show at the National Sports Stadium against Bosso, as he is still to shake off the injury he picked in that match.
Rusike was unplayable against Highlanders, clearly the man-of-the-match, but Chitembwe believes the injury-prone midfielder should be given time to shake off the knock.
The coach said Rusike will be available for the weekend’s match, a crunch tie against pacesetters FC Platinum.
CAPS United will also miss defender Justice Jangano, who has been ruled out after picking three yellow cards.
In the last match vice-captain Stephen Makatuka was also suspended, but the gangly defender returns for the game against Tsholotsho.
“It is always good to have your team playing consistently. But at the end of the day these are hazards of the occupation. But all the players are important. We are happy that Stephen is back and will fill in for Jussy (Jangano) who is out of this game,” said Chitembwe.
The coach revealed that he almost walked away from Makepekepe after a group of the club’s fans hurled insults at him after the drawn league match against Hwange. Chitembwe told the GamePlan weekly football magazine programme on ZTV on Monday night that he considered quitting the Green Machine.
However, the coach decided that such a move would be an act of betrayal to the majority of the fans who have been supportive of his work, the players who like his leadership and club owner Farai Jere, who has backed him in good and bad times.
Tsholotsho coach Lizwe Sweswe said they will try their best to upstage their opponents.
“In the first round we didn’t do well, now we want to collect some points to avoid relegation. CAPS United are playing well, they have experienced players and have assembled a good squad.
“We respect them a lot, but in this game we will try our best,” said Sweswe.
The Bulawayo side lost a number of players during the transfer window but the coach says he has countered that by acquiring some players.
They lost their skipper William Stima to FC Platinum, forward Simba Gorogondyo, who has moved to Dynamos and Butholizwe Ncube who joined South African side Amazulu.
“So we are trying to come up with a team and we have new players who have also joined the club. Nkosana Siwela is coming from Hwange, Zimisileni Moyo is coming from Zambia where he was playing for Zesco United.
“We also signed Blessing Chirwa from Division One club Karoi United. The combinations may take a little bit of time to gel, but CAPS United should be prepared for a tough game,” said Sweswe.
Today: Border Strikers v Bulawayo City (Dulivhadzimo), Harare City v ZPC Kariba (Rufaro), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Chicken Inn (Baobab), Chapungu v Triangle (Ascot), Tsholotsho v CAPS United (Luveve), FC Platinum v Hwange (Mandava).
Tomorrow: Dynamos v How Mine (Rufaro), Highlanders v Mutare City Rovers (Barbourfields)