Chitembwe wants Tiki-taka
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe is hammering unto his players the principle of possession-based football which he believes will make the Green Machine competitive this season.
Makepekepe were convincing in their opening day 2-0 victory over Manica Diamonds at the National Sports Stadium last week.
They retained the ball with ease and were very dangerous in the attacking third, much to the delight of their appreciative supporters.
But the script changed dramatically when they played Ngezi Platinum Stars last Saturday at Baobab in Mhondoro.
They struggled to put together some meaningful play as their hosts bossed them throughout the match.
The Green Machine though should take the credit for remaining disciplined under such pressure with their compactness well complimented by goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga who made five crucial saves, including three point-blank situations.
Chitembwe reckoned after that match the condition of the pitch limited his charges from expressing themselves hence their conservativeness for the entire afternoon.
“I am happy because we didn’t concede. But obviously, what made it very difficult for us was the state of the pitch. We are a ball-possession based team. When you retain the ball, you create the necessary movements, supporting angles and passing but we couldn’t do that because the pitch is in a very bad state.
“That means we couldn’t risk taking chances to try and play it simple and that was the difference,” said Chitembwe.
“I am happy with the attitude of my players, the mentality and everything as they are reacting to our possession-based play.
“We know retaining the ball will make us very competitive. The first match against Manica Diamonds just showed us how much that can do to our opponents.
“I am happy with how every player in my team is putting in the work. There is this positivity in their mentality and I am happy to be working with a group of players who exhibit that.”
The Green Machine under Chitembwe’s mentorship have always been exciting, save for last season when the players allowed their off-field troubles creep into the field of play.
Makepekepe were underwhelming last term even fighting relegation for the better part of the marathon as financial problems spilled into the pitch.
The players rarely came to the party with a humiliating 6-2 loss to Manica Diamonds at Sakubva underlining the gravity of the crisis.
But Soccer Star of the Year runner-up and Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Golden Boot winner William Manondo gave them reason to smile at the end of a forgettable season.
And with things seemingly stabilising at the Harare giants, Chitembwe’s charges, who are on four points after two match-days, are touted as one of the favourites to win the league title this season.
The club has failed to win a trophy since delivering the league title in 2016 and they will be hoping to capture any silverware this season.
The “tiki-taka’’ that Makepekepe implemented in full force against Manica Diamonds should help them navigate hurdles along the way.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Mateyaunga says his exploits against Ngezi Platinum last Saturday will go a long way in terms of lifting his confidence levels.
On a day Makepekepe spent the day chasing the ball, Mateyaunga emerged the hero with some key saves.
First he denied Tinotenda Murasiranwa from point-blank range before also spreading himself to thwart Leslie Kashitigu and Marvellous Mukumba in one versus one situations.
There were a lot of saves that he made from shots taken from afar as well.
“I give credit to everyone in our team. It was a difficult match for us for we were pinned down right from the start. But we just showed our level of game management is up there,” said Mateyaunga.
“I am very happy I managed to make those saves but it’s due to teamwork. We should be proud of our performance against Ngezi Platinum. We picked a point in a game they were dominating. We look forward to our next games.”