Makepekepe march on
Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter—
CAPS United . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1
Border Strikers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe felt his team’s performance yesterday was not the best he would expect from them but the former midfielder was still happy with the win over minnows Border Strikers at the National Sports Stadium as it was enough to take the Harare giants back to the top of the Castle Lager Premiership soccer table. Makepekepe, overnight log leaders last week when they defeated bitter rivals Dynamos in the famous Harare Derby, bounced back to the apex courtesy of a well-struck free kick by veteran forward Leonard Tsipa, just three minutes after he was introduced at the restart.
The Green Machine took advantage of the slip up by FC Platinum, who played a goalless draw with Harare City on Saturday, to shoot to the top of the table on goal difference as the two teams are now tied on 13 points after five games.
However, the CAPS United supporters who thronged the giant football facility yesterday did not get as much entertainment value for their money as they had in the opening four games of the season.
The Harare giants had the upper hand in the opening half in which they had better chances of scoring, in contrast to their opponents who appeared content just knocking the ball around without venturing forward.
“Of course, it’s a win, isn’t it?” said Chitembwe after the match. “If it’s a win then we are happy. If it was anything less than a win then obviously we were not going to be happy about it. “We were quite satisfied, we were quite happy although today it wasn’t as pretty as we would have wanted it to be. But generally if you manage to get three points whilst you are not doing so well I am sure it’s a very good thing.”
CAPS United did well from the wings where Hardlife Zvirekwi was initiating most of the moves down the right channel while Phineas Bhamusi was always causing havoc with his pace in the opponents’ territory.
The Green Machine looked comfortable as Joel Ngodzo and veteran Method Mwanjali steadied the ship in midfield where Border Strikers’ Young Warriors midfielder Livingstone Genti and Godfrey Mukambi played second fiddle.
But the scoreboard still stayed unchanged in the opening half as Makepekepe did not make good use of the opportunities that came their way. Simba Nhivi twice could have given his team the advantage when he got into scoring positions early in the first half but his finishing let him down despite the industry. Then Ronald Pfumbidzayi almost stunned the visitors direct from a corner kick in the 34th minute but the ball bounced off the crossbar.
“It’s not about utilising each and every chance that you create but all the same we are happy with the result. Yeah, it’s good to get a result whilst making mistakes because, obviously you will have time to work on those mistakes,” said Chitembwe.
The priceless goal for Makepekepe eventually came via a set-piece after the breather. Chitembwe made a rewarding decision when he pulled out Archford Gutu at the break and called on veteran striker Tsipa to boost the attack.
The new man on the pitch took the onus upon himself when a CAPS United player was fouled just outside the box and expertly swung the ball past an otherwise impressive goalkeeper Talent Sande from the resultant free-kick. Border Strikers, coming from a crippling industrial action by their players, never troubled their hosts but they showed glimpses that they could match any team in the Premiership.
The Beitbridge side passed the ball well but lacked the thrust going forward. Saul Chaminuka’s men have faced many challenges early in their debut season. They have lost all five games they have played as they remain rooted at the bottom of the table. Worse, the fact that the side is still to find the back of the nets in 450 minutes of Premiership action is now worrying the coach.
The Warriors assistant coach nonetheless remains positive his side will eventually find their groove as they go back to the drawing board. “A lot of things are in the wrong and I have every reason to be worried but technically and tactically on the field of play, I think we are working.
“It shows where we are coming from and where we are going. One of these days we are going to score goals and we will win games,” said Chaminuka.
CAPS United: J. Muchambo, H. Zvirekwi, R. Pfumbidzayi, S. Makatukua, J. Jangano, M. Mwanjali, A. Gutu (L. Tsipa, 45th minute), P. Bhamusi, J. Ngodzo (V. Musarurwa, 90th minute), S. Nhivi, D. Chungwa (K. Nyamupfukudza, 63rd minute)
Border Strikers: T. Sane, P. Muzondo, M. Variso, F. Makarati E. Mwinga, G. Mukambi, L. Genti, B. Chirumanzi, T. Muchaya (T. Mukambi, 60th minute), S. Chaminuka Jnr (K. Kwashi, 34th minute), T. Kalunga (T. Jaravani, 70th minute)