THE problems at Caps United were firmly exposed on Saturday in the final of the ZNA Charity Shield at Mandava Stadium in a 6-0 rout by FC Platinum.
The former champions had only arrived in Bulawayo on Thursday morning for a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) against Bantu Rovers on the same day, which they drew 0-0 before making the trip to Zvishavane.
The Green Machine players had refused to travel citing unpaid allowances, bonuses and salaries and coach Taurai Mangwiro had blasted the team’s management after the Thursday draw, but urged the players to soldier on.
On Saturday, Caps players’ behaviour on the field of play was rudely exposed when referee Rugare Kusosa ordered David Chipala to the stands moments before the breather after he had protested a seemingly legitimate second goal by Zambian import Obrey Chola Chirwa.
George Nyirenda also saw red for a reckless challenge on the impressive Tatenda Dzumbunu and was accompanied to the stands by Hardlife Zvirekwi who protested the booking and by that time the Zvishavane-based side had already taken a 4-0 lead.
For Caps United they need to work on their discipline and improve on their generous defense if they are to challenge for the league title this season.
At the Colliery last month, Honey Chimutimunzeve and Mangwiro were sent to the stands.
Later on, the entire technical department was cautioned and after the match, striker Dominic Mukandi was arrested.
Board member and lawyer Lewis Uriri has quit the club while director Farai Jere only returned early this year after taking a break.
This does not bode well for the Green Machine brand, whose principal owner is PSL chairman Twine Phiri, that is chasing their first league title since 2005 and are sitting pretty in fourth place with 38 points with just eight games of the season to go. Leaders Dynamos have 42.
While Caps are in mourning at their demolition, FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza, who has had a hot and cold start at Mandava, has given the club some hope that they might finish in the top four and by some miracle, sneak the league title.
They are sixth on the log with 31 points and their next match is against Dynamos at home — a game they have to win at all costs if they are to close the gap with the leaders.
Mapeza has done well in cup competitions, reaching the last eight of the Chibuku Super Cup and winning the ZNA Charity Shield, but in the league, he has managed just one win from three games, including a home loss to Highlanders.
The only way to win over the Pure Platinum Play fans is to beat the Big Three — Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United.
In the match where they humiliated the Green Machine on Saturday, Mapeza used what seemed like a second string side lacking the likes of Aaron Katebe, Thabani Kamusoko, Donald Ngoma, Marshal Mudewe and Qadr Amin.
But in his post-match interview, he said he is spoilt for choice.
“There is nothing like second string. We registered many players and those players are part of the team. I am still new here and we are building a team. I want to give everyone a chance as we continue building a strong side.
“They played well against Caps United and that encourages us a lot as the technical department. This increases the level of competition,” he said.
Saturday’s match was played before a near capacity crowd where gate charges were pegged at $2 for the rest of the ground, $5 for VIP and $10 for VVIP and the army is set to reap good rewards for its charities.