BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The spoils in football always go to those who are modern and progressive. They favour those who are brave enough to depart from the traditional way of doing things in order to achieve a desired outcome.
Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe is one man who risks losing in pursuit of a victory.
On Sunday, his decision to switch from a back four to a back three and pushing more men forward as an impressive Mushowani Stars threatened to run them over was a huge gamble that eventually paid off.
The Caps gaffer hauled out Spencer Sibanda and brought in Ronald Chitiyo on the 47th minute, while also introducing Kudzanai Nyamupfukudza for Joel Ngodzo after 59 minutes – a change that took fans by surprise.
With those changes, Chitembwe switched from four at the back to three, while goalkeeper Chris Mverechena took the sweeper’s role.
While this opened up avenues for Mushowani, who failed to exploit them despite carving numerous chances, Chitembwe’s changes proved to be the magic wand with the Green Machine wingers of Pheneas Bhamusi and Gabriel Nyoni, enjoying more of the ball with more crosses being made into the box, particularly by the former.
What perhaps caught the eye was that Chitembwe took a huge risk, knowing well that the change in formation left his side fragile at the back, but he was prepared for anything as long as he had a better chance of winning the match.
While at the end of the match most people went home praising a fabulous performance displayed by Mushowani Stars, who dominated for long periods with double scorer, dreadlocked forward Evans Katema, terrorising the Caps defence every time he got in the danger zone, the Green Machine went away with maximum points.
Chitembwe acknowledged that his side did not play well, but was happy that they collected all three points.
“It’s quite refreshing, we gladly accept the result and take it home. But, in terms of performance, we were not at our best.
“We were slightly off colour and probably the main reason was down to having played a very gruelling game (against Chapungu) on Thursday. We were always chasing the ball. When we scored, they equalised and we were constantly under pressure to correct our mistakes. We had been playing badly with four at the back and we switched to a back three and had a lot of numbers forward, which is risky. But at the end of the day there is no coach who can complain after a victory. So I am very happy,” Chitembwe said.
The victory saw the Green Machine climbing back to the top of the table with 19 points, one ahead of closest challengers Chicken Inn.