CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe has lavished praise on Ngezi Platinum Stars coach Tonderai Ndiraya after the latter’s good start to the season, but the Green Machine gaffer is relishing the prospect of ending the table toppers good run when the two sides clash at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
BY HENRY MHARA
Chitembwe, who led the Green Machine to league glory two years ago, admits that Ndiraya is doing a “sensational” job in his second season with Madamburo.
Having missed the league title narrowly last year, the Mhondoro Ngezi-based side have had a storming start to the current campaign, winning nine of their opening 11 matches.
Their only blemish so far being two draws away to ZPC Kariba and Shabanie Mine.
Speaking after Caps United’s training session at the match venue yesterday, Chitembwe admitted that his team faced a daunting task against a side that has enjoyed an excellent start.
“I honestly believe they have been sensational ever since the start of the season, Tonde (Ndiraya) has done a great job,” he said.
“Credit to them, they have some very good players. But all the same, it’s a very important game for us. We have done a decent job but we need to start winning games because we know what we want and how to achieve it.”
Ngezi currently sit on top of the table, with 26 points, 10 points ahead of 10th placed Caps United.
A defeat for the Harare giants at the weekend, would make the point-gap massive. Yet, Chitembwe is not worried.
He expects his side to turn on the screws in the second half of the season, just like what they did on their way to league glory the last time.
“We are yet to get to the halfway of the season. When we won the league we didn’t have as much points as the team that was leading at that stage during that season,” the Green Machine mentor said.
“But our second half was out of this world. It was sensational. We are just banking on that. We just want to make sure we collect decent points up until the halfway stage of the season, then hope to fight during the second half of the season.
“I certainly believe that, and have this funny feeling that our finish to the season will be as sensational as how Ngezi have started the season.”
Last season, Caps United ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, but Chitembwe will not be looking in the past.
“It’s not really about what happened last year, you don’t re-live the past. In football, it’s always about the current situation, the performance on the day, and for us the performance on the day will matter the most,” he said.
“You look at the boys, are they showing the kind of desire and hunger that I have always wanted to see in players? It’s that kind of motivation that gives you a chance going into a match.
“We are Caps United, mind you. We are not like these other teams. We know what we are supposed to do to win matches. We know how to prepare in these kind of games, and I’m sure they are well aware of that.
“We are actually much happier to play them at this stage, considering that they haven’t lost a game, and there is no better time to play Ngezi when they have not lost a match.”
Ngezi will travel to Harare beaming with confidence after putting Yadah Stars to the sword by five-goals to nil in their last league match.
United, meanwhile, saw their recent positive streak coming to an end with a 1-0 defeat to Chicken Inn which was followed by a 1-1 draw away to Shabanie Mine.
“I don’t necessarily look in the past games because there are also a lot of positives in those games. As far as I’m concerned, the positives outweigh the negatives,” Chitembwe said.
“On the day (against Chicken Inn), we just couldn’t score. So we are in a very good situation. What is more important is for us to try and work on our offensive aspects of the game. It’s in that area that we need to be at our best.”