We are still in it: Chitembwe

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Lloyd Chitembwe

BY HENRY MHARA

CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe remains confident his side can challenge for the league title this year despite their stuttering start to the campaign.

The Green Machine’s goalless draw against Ngezi Platinum last week left them on eleventh place, five points behind the pacesetters Manica Diamonds and Chicken Inn after four matches.

However, Chitembwe, whose side travels to the log leaders Manica Diamonds this weekend, has been impressed by his players’ attitude since calling off a boycott last week over late payment of salaries.

He said his team is on the right track and as the season unfolds, they will continue to improve.

“We still have 34 games to play, and, as a coach, I want to be pragmatic. We have only played four games so we still have a long way to go,” Chitembwe said.

“The season is ending in December or November thereabout, so between these months, we expect that something would have happened. If these guys can give you such a performance (against Ngezi Platinum Stars), having trained for two weeks, imagine if we had trained for six weeks, the normal pre-season period. So far so good, we still have time to catch up with the rest of the teams. As soon as we get to catch up with them in terms of physical, mental and tactical preparation, then I think we will have an edge over most of the teams.”

Chitembwe revealed that at one point, he trained with 10 players for the away match against Black Rhinos a fortnight ago, but they managed to raise a team for the trip where they went on to battle to a 1-1 draw.

He said the situation had since normalised again and they managed to train with the whole squad for last week’s match against Ngezi where they picked their fourth draw in as many matches.

Caps put up a spirited performance in the match against one of the title favourites, where the team paraded their new signings including Devon Chafa, William Manondo, Clive Augusto, Rodwell Chinyengetere, Dennis Dauda and Kenneth Bulaji, who all gave a good account of themselves.

Chitembwe said he was looking to make one more signing, an addition which he said will make his squad “complete”.

The former midfielder was left purring about his team’s performance against Ngezi, but he knows they will need to do even more when they face Manica Diamonds who have been shining the brightest in the league so far.

Three wins from four matches is a good return for a club that was promoted into the top-flight in 2019.

They managed to beat WhaWha, Bulawayo City and Highlanders, but with due respect to the three teams, all have been struggling this season.

Manica Diamonds were beaten 2-1 by Herentals last week and a rejuvenated Green Machine is confident of a victory and record their first win of the campaign.

Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures

Today: Bulawayo Chiefs v Tenax (Luveve), ZPC Kariba v FC Platinum (Nyamhunga), Harare City v Craneborne Bullets (National Sports Stadium), Black Rhinos v Triangle United (Sakubva), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Yadah (Baobab)

Tomorrow: Manica Diamonds v Caps United (Sakubva), WhaWha v Herentals (Ascot), Bulawayo City v Highlanders (Barbourfields), Dynamos v Chicken Inn (National Sports Stadium)

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