Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
LLOYD Chitembwe has tipped midfielder Ronald Chitiyo to flourish at CAPS United this season as Makepekepe look to make an impact on their return to the continental stage. Chitembwe believes the diminutive midfielder is a special addition to his side following the move from Harare City during the off-season.
Chitiyo was welcomed into the Green Machine family together with ex-FC Platinum defender Last Sithole and goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba.
Chitembwe, who is currently part of the class taking part in the CAF A Licence coaching course at the ZIFA Village, yesterday said he has been impressed by what he has seen in the players so far.
The Premiership Coach of the Year said it was a dream come true to work with Chitiyo, whom he has admired for a long time for his talent which earned him the second runner-up prize for the 2012 Soccer Star of the Year award following an outstanding season with relegated Monomotapa.
“I am very impressed, especially with Ronald and Last. I certainly believe they will give us what we saw and admired in them,” said Chitembwe.
“These are players with very good qualities, especially Ronald. He has special technical qualities, he is a special player.
“He is very intelligent and I think he made a very good decision (to join CAPS United) and as a coach I am also motivated.
“I have always had a desire to want to work with him. I am sure I will try and give him what I can give him so that he can take his career to another level.
“Last has good qualities as well and I am sure he is at a club where he can develop faster than anywhere else. “The objective obviously is to get the best out of every player here at CAPS United,” said Chitembwe.
After winning the 2016 championship, Makepekepe are aiming for more success as they kick-start the new season with a CAF Champions League preliminary round clash against Lioli of Lesotho.
Chitiyo, who has previous experience in the Champions League with Dynamos in 2014 and then in the Confederation Cup with Harare City last year, is expected to play a key part.
Chitembwe was yesterday reunited with his team when Makepekepe were invited by the course instructors to the ZIFA Village as the model side for the classes.
The Zimbabwean soccer kings stepped up their preparations with an intensive training session at the ZIFA Village that was overseen by former Young Warriors coach Nelson Matongorere and ZIFA technical director Taurai Mangwiro.
Mangwiro and Matongorere are conducting the CAF A Licence course at the same venue and used Makepekepe’s training session for illustrations.
It was also an advantage for the giants who are expected to play the preliminary round in Lesotho on artificial turf on the weekend of February 11-12.
CAPS United take their preparations a gear up with their first friendly match of the season against Mozambican champions Ferroviario da Beira on Sunday at the National Sports Stadium.
Apart from Stephen Makatuka, who has left for South Africa First National Division side AmaZulu, Makepekepe have retained most of their players.
Makepekepe players turned up in full force yesterday with Abbas Amidu, Simba Nhivi, Leonard Tsipa, Dominic Chungwa, Devon Chafa, Joel Ngodzo, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Chris Mverechena, Edmore Sibanda, skipper Moses Muchenje and all the other senior players in attendance.
Only winger Tafadzwa Rusike was absent at yesterday’s training as he is recovering from an injury.
Former captain Hardlife Zvirekwi is away at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon with the national team.
Chitembwe said continuity will be key to achieve their targets this season.
“The element of continuity is very important. Having the same players, same coaches, same team that managed to win something together.
“We shared a lot of good things last year and also experience a few not so good moments.
“So I also want to give credit to these players for making this kind of decision to continue with the same team.
“This deserves special credit and also for the owners of the team for working so hard to keep these guys together,” said Chitembwe.