Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
AS exclusively revealed by The Herald on Saturday, Lloyd Chitembwe yesterday sealed a two-and-a-half-year contract as Harare City coach, just a day after leading the Green Machine to within just a point of leaders FC Platinum.
Harare City have been without a head coach since Englishman, Mark Harrison, quit in a huff and his assistant, Mark Mathe, was tasked with leading the club on an interim basis.
After lengthy talks with the Harare City hierarchy, including secretary-general Mathew Marara and chief executive Tafadzwa Bhasera, Chitembwe finally put pen to paper late in the afternoon.
Harare City spokesperson, Michael Chideme, couldn’t reveal whether Chitembwe would adopt the backroom staff that has been at the club.
“Lloyd Chitembwe has signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Harare City. He will be introduced to players tomorrow (today),” said Chideme.
CAPS United president, Farai Jere, confirmed Chitembwe had left the Green Machine.
“As the presidium of CAPS United, we announce that our head coach Lloyd Chitembwe has left the club and moved to Harare City,’’ he said.
“We have had a very good working relationship with Lloyd and until the very end, his final game against Highlanders, he showed incredible professionalism and showed that his heart will always be with this club no matter where his business interests might take him. “Contrary to all the negative stories that we have been seeing on social media, we want to make it clear that this was something that happened because the coach felt he needed another challenge and he was excited with taking a fresh challenge at this time of his career.
“Clearly, Harare City dangled a deal which, if the figures we have seen being circulated are anything to go by, was something we could not match even though our primary objective was to keep Lloyd as our head coach.
“It happens in football, now and again, and we have seen it all over the world and what we want to assure our Green Machine family is that the club remains intact and we will be meeting with the remaining members of the technical team and the players so that we give them an idea of our vision for the club going forward.
“We also want to assure them that CAPS United will always compete, firstly to be champions, and to be competitive, to give the fans who believe in us something to cheer their spirits every weekend and to give a dividend to the sponsors who provide the funding for our team.
“We wish Lloyd all the best at Harare City and he knows that CAPS United will always be his home and, in future, God willing, we will again reunite.’’
Jere said reports that Chitembwe’s relationship with some of the leaders at the Green Machine had broken down were not true.
“If you were at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday, and saw the emotions from the coach, when we won that game, you can’t tell me that this was the face of a coach whose heart was not at CAPS United anymore or who was working for a leadership he didn’t want,’’ said Jere.
“We tried our best to keep Lloyd because we valued his professionalism and his leadership but these things happen in football and we have to find a way to move on as a club.’’
Meanwhile, Highlanders coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu has tipped CAPS United to go all the way and win the league championship.
“CAPS United have serious intentions and judging from the way they battled for the win against us, I think if they can continue working hard, they will push for the title,” said Mpofu.
“They are a good team, very disciplined and technically superb. Looking at our game against them, I think, as Highlanders we showed how much we have improved as a team, especially after we scored first.
“But, for CAPS United to have that come-from-behind spirit to win, I think they are a good team. “I think it is too early to talk about which team will finish at but I think they (CAPS) will be up there among the best.’’