CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe says he is pleased with his team in terms of physical conditioning as the Harare giants warmed up to their African Champions League campaign next month with a 2-0 victory over a battling Ferroviario Beira of Mozambique at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Abbas Amidu’s first half strike on 30 minutes from an acute angle and another in the second half by substitute Amon Kambanje after he was put through by new recruit Ronald Chitiyo formerly with Harare City, was all Caps United needed to secure victory.
Chitembwe also gave a run to centre back Last Sithole who joined from FC Platinum.
The visitors who had former Dynamos goalkeeper Willard Manyatera in goals however, gave everything particularly in the first half in which they carved out good chances with forward Nelito — a constant threat every time he was in possession.
That they didn’t manage to score is not a true reflection of their performance. But Chitembwe was more interested in assessing the physical conditioning of his players than anything else.
“For now we are not really looking at performance. We are looking at the aspect of conditioning. The endurance aspect is there but the element of speed is not there. The speed of thought, the speed of reaction and speed of execution. But generally I am happy with the desire and commitment shown by these players. It’s still work in progress. We still have three more weeks to assess the team, but this match has been very helpful. Every single training session means a lot to the team,” he said.
Chitembwe was particularly happy with the performance of the team’s two new recruits Chitiyo and Last Sithole, both introduced from the bench.
Caps United begin their Champions League campaign with a clash against Lesotho minnows Lioli in the preliminary stage next month, and should they advance, they will face African football giants TP Mazembe in the first round.
If they beat Lioli and TP Mazembe, they will advance to the group stages after Caf cut the two-legged qualifying phase from three rounds to two and expanded the group stage from eight to 16 teams, divided into four groups of four clubs.
If they lose against Mazembe, they will be relegated to the Caf Confederations Cup, where they will be required to participate in a play-off round.
The preliminary round ties of the Caf Champions League will be played on the weekends of February 10 to 12 and 17 to 19.