Chitembwe happy with players fitness level

CAPS United coach, Lloyd Chitembwe is happy with his players’ fitness levels and he is determined to establish the club among the continent’s football elite.

BY HENRY MHARA

Caps-United-assistant-coach-Tostao-Kwashi-and-head-coach-Lloyd-Chitembwe-salute-the-fans-after-a-recent-win-at-the-National-Sports-Stadium

Speaking yesterday after the team’s first training session at the National Sports Stadium, since their return from Lusaka, Chitembwe said he was happy with the team’s fitness levels.

“Of course, the players are not 100% sharp, but not many teams can match our present level. The teams we played in Zambia are also competing in African competitions, but they are not yet at our level,” he said.

Chitembwe is confident that the squad he has is capable of making an impact in the continent’s premier club competition.

Save for Stephen Makatuka, who left for South African side Amazulu, there were not so many changes in the squad. Ronald and Last Chitiyo are the only notable additions.

“We are not only preparing for the Champions League, but the league season as well. My immediate target is to be competitive. I want my team to be very competitive. I’m very happy with the players that I have. They are all here for a reason. Last season, these boys gave us a lot and with the inclusion of Rooney and other guys it just adds on to the quality that we already have, so I am quite happy with the quality.”

Chitembwe had a full complement of players at yesterday’s session, and with Hardlife Zvirekwi, who was on national duty in Gabon returning, while Tafadzwa Rusike has also started training after fully recovering from injury. Former FC Platinum striker Makai Kawashu also made an appearance, although Chitembwe refused to comment about his presence and involvement.

Zvirekwi trained away from the group

“We gave him [Zvirekwi] an active rest. He didn’t train as much as the rest of the group. He has worked much harder than anyone else here, so there is need for him to also have a rest. Had it not been for the Champions League, we would have given him at least two weeks to rest,” Chitembwe said.

Caps United travel to Maseru next weekend for the preliminary round fixture against Lioli, before welcoming the minnows a week later.

Democratic Republic of Congo giants TP Mazembe await the winner of this encounter in the first round.

Chitembwe and his troops returned to the country on Monday from a tour of Zambia where they played two international friendly matches, the first against Red Arrows, losing 2-0, before recovering to beat that country’s league champions Zanaco 2-1.

The former Green Machine midfielder, whose side also beat Mozambican champions Ferroviario da Beira 2-0 last month, has picked plenty of positives from his team’s performances in the three friendlies, as he gears for their Champions League preliminary round fixture against Lesotho side Lioli.

One such benefit is his players’ physical condition, which he believes is much better than that of the teams he has faced, all of whom will be participating in Caf competitions.

Zanaco and Ferroviario are competing in the Caf Champions League, while Red Arrows are playing in the Caf Confederations Cup.

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