Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
CAPS United …………… (2) 2
Manica Diamonds ………0
IT may not have been the kind of performance Lloyd Chitembwe had hoped for but CAPS United still got their Castle Lager Premiership campaign off to a positive start at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Makepekepe got into the game in high spirits after their sponsors NetOne had doubled their package to $700 000 on Friday night.
And, John Zhuwawu and Joel Ngodzo grabbed a goal apiece in a dominant first half to give them the momentum they needed at home against newboys Manica Diamonds.
There were a lot of positive flashes in those first 45 minutes for the Green Machine with newboy Blessing Sarupinda playing a blinder in midfield.
Ngodzo bullied the visitors with his runs and accurate passing.
But, after the break, Makepekepe decided to go to sleep.
And, how they ended up not being punished by the débutantes, who were the better side for the last 45 minutes, remains a mystery.
There are some who claim the giant stadium has now become a stadium for two goals this season and, watching the CAPS United forwards waste many chances in the first half, and the visitors do the same after the break, it was hard to argue otherwise.
After all, the first match there this year, the Charity Shield, also provided two goals.
The Warriors then beat Congo-Brazzaville 2-0 before the Young Warriors squeezed a similar result there last Tuesday.
“It was a very good game but I thought it was a game of two halves,’’ said Chitembwe.
“Our build-ups, especially in the first half, were very precise and in terms of game possession we did well.
“Then, the second half, it was rather for fear of losing that we had to concentrate on managing the game and I thought we did manage it very well.
“We didn’t want to give them the initiative to come at us and hoped to catch them on the break and it really worked.
“It was all about trying to make sure we make everything possible to make it difficult for them to play. We did manage to achieve all our objectives.”
The Green Machine lost forward Dominic Chungwa as early as the 11th minute through injury but they still managed to re-organise themselves with the introduction of Kudzai Nyamupfukudza.
Chungwa, who is returning from a short-lived jaunt in South Africa, had made his mark when he took advantage of a defensive mix-up to set up Zhuwawu inside the box. The forward scrambled the ball home after the goalkeeper Jorum Muchambo had failed to deal with the goalmouth melee.
Ngodzo doubled Makepekepe’s lead from the penalty spot, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way, after left-back Lawrence Masibhera had brought down Gabriel Nyoni inside the box.
The goals appeared to take away the fighting spirit from the visitors who, apart from a long range speculative shot by Timire Mamvura late in the first half, and Stephen Sibanda’s disallowed effort from an offside position, never troubled the hosts.
The introduction of Ishmael Lawe and Marshal Mudehwe early in the second half appeared to give them the momentum.
Much was expected from the Gem Boys, who invested a fortune in preparing for their debut Premiership appearance, but they flattered to deceive in their first game.
Their coach Luke Masomere said he was encouraged by the second half performance. They had the movement but forward Stanley Ngala wasted a brilliant opportunity after getting a good pass from Mudehwe in the 72nd minute.
Benjamin Marere then wasted an even better opportunity.
“We didn’t start the game very well. It wasn’t positive, we gave them gift goals. I think the first half was bad for us but we came back more organised in the second half and we could have also scored one or two goals.
“Our objective is slightly different from others, we want to end the season in the top eight and definitely we will achieve that.
“We will have to make sure that we concentrate and make sure that we win the next game,” said Masomere.
Makepekepe also fielded a number of their new signings, including former Dynamos midfielder Valentine Ndaba, Nyoni, Newman Sianchali, Chungwa and Phineas Bamusi who is returning after a stint at Triangle. Chitembwe said the new forwards gave his side the muscle they lacked last season going into attack. “I am very happy they gave us the forward thrust that we did not have last season. We weren’t able to kill and finish off teams simply because we just lacked the energy and the speed going forward.
“But, in this game and the other games we used as preparations to the season, they were giving us exactly that speed going forward and at the same time good chances of hitting our opponents,” said Chitembwe.
CAPS United: P. Chigumba, V. Musarurwa, V. Ndaba, M. Mwanjale, G. Goriyati, B. Sarupinda (N. Sianchali, 69th min), P. Bhamusi (H. Zvirekwi, 86th min), J. Ngodzo, G. Nyoni, J. Zhuwawu, D. Chungwa (K. Nyamupfukudza, 17th minute)
Manica Diamonds: J. Muchambo, L. Masibhera, P. Mpelele, N. Tachi, P. Jaure, T. Mamvura, T. Jeffrey, W. Mutasa (I. Lawe, 53rd min), T. Mukono (B. Marere, 79th min), S. Sibanda (M. Mudehwe, 53rd min), S. Ngala.
RESULTS AT GLANCERESULTS AT GLANCE
CAPS United 2, Manica Diamonds 0; Hwange 2, Yadah 0; Triangle United 2, Ngezi Platinum 1; Herentals 0, Telone 0.
Black Rhinos 1, Highlanders 1; Chicken Inn 3, ZPC Kariba 1; Mushowani Stars 0, Dynamos 2; Chapungu 5, Bulawayo Chiefs 0.
Harare City 0, FC Platinum 2. P W D L F A PtsChapungu 1 1 0 0 5 0 3 Chicken Inn 1 1 0 0 3 1 3CAPS United 1 1 0 0 2 0 3Dynamos 1 1 0 0 2 0 3 FC Platinum 1 1 0 0 2 0 3Hwange 1 1 0 0 2 0 3Triangle United 1 1 0 0 2 1 3Black Rhinos 1 0 1 0 1 1 1Highlanders 1 0 1 0 1 1 1Herentals 1 0 1 0 0 0 1Telone 1 0 1 0 0 0 1Ngezi Platinum 1 0 0 1 1 2 0ZPC Kariba 1 0 0 1 1 3 0Manica Diamonds 1 0 0 1 0 2 0Mushowani Stars 1 0 0 1 0 2 0Harare City 1 0 0 1 0 2 0Yadah 1 0 0 1 0 2 0Bulawayo Chiefs 1 0 0 1 0 5 0