CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe praised his charges for their great spirit and commitment that saw the Green Machine overcome fancied five-time African champions TP Mazembe to advance to the money-spinning group stage of the Caf Champions League.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The Zimbabwe champions went into the match needing at least a goalless draw to beat their more illustrious opponents to the ticket into the mini-league stage. And they managed just that before a heaving National Sports Stadium.
Having managed to score an away goal in the first leg which ended in a 1-1 stalemate, the 0-0 draw meant Chitembwe and his men advanced at the expense of TP Mazembe. They will be one of the 16 teams that will go into the hat in the battle to win the prestigious cup in African club football.
Caf has from this season expanded the group stage from eight to 16 teams, divided into four groups of four.
And the Caps United gaffer was full of praises for his charges after the match for achieving their set target.
“Naturally, the feeling is good. It’s important to qualify for these tournaments. It is a very good result for us.
I would say the spirit in this team is out of this world. I attribute this success to the spirit in the team.
Everyone was committed and we achieved our target,” he said.
The draw against TP Mazembe also ensured Caps United stretch their unbeaten run at their home ground – the National Sports Stadium – where they have not tasted defeat since Chitembwe took over in September of 2015.
Chitembwe attributed that success to self-belief.
“It’s down to belief. The boys believe we are formidable at home. We are more comfortable to play at the National Sports Stadium. We are familiar with the environment,” he said.
Caps United becomes the third team that has managed to qualify for the group stage after Dynamos and Monomotapa.
Dynamos went on to reach the final in 1998.