BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
WITH both teams having picked up form in the past two games after initially struggling at the start of the season, Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe has predicted fans would be served a tasty football dish when they host old enemy Highlanders at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Highlanders struggled for fluency at the start of the campaign, managing a single victory in six matches. Prior to last week, they had only managed to beat WhaWha 2-0, drawn twice and lost three times before reasserting themselves with a convincing 4-0 victory over Herentals last weekend
The Harare football giants too, did not have the best of the start they had envisaged after failing to win in five outings in which they suffered a 6-2 defeat to Manica Diamonds only to allay fears of another failed season with a comprehensive 6-0 mauling of WhaWha before edging Bulawayo City 1-0 on Saturday.
And it is these results in the past two weeks which Chitembwe believes reflect contenders rather than pretenders for both sides. The Caps United gaffer told reporters at a news conference after the team’s training session at the B Arena of the giant stadium yesterday that Highlanders had quality players and were unfortunate to have been losing. He predicted an enthralling encounter between the two sides.
“We are looking forward to the game. Highlanders have top quality and have been unfortunate in the past games. It (Sunday match) gives a very good platform for both teams to really play well. At Caps, these are the games to be won and we just make sure to do what is necessary for us to go out there and be competitive tactically, being very efficient and that’s what it takes to dominate these games,” he said.
Chitembwe though acknowledged they will not have it their own way against a reinvigorated Highlanders.
“It’s never easy, but we will try hard to achieve our goal. I am very happy with what I have seen in this group as far as attitude is concerned. If there is one thing we have improved, it is the mental aspect and attitude. You see them having to choose to remain behind and do some extra work and that only tells you are working with players that are focused for not only this game but ever since I came. I am very happy to observe such kind of positives within this group.”
Although Caps United emerged 2-1 victory at the same venue when they met in August 2019, Chitembwe insisted statistics count for little in football.
“Unfortunately, I am not a historian. I am a football coach and every game presents its only challenges and obviously we have challenges this coming weekend and obviously they have a different team from the one they played last time and we also have a completely different team from the one we fielded last time. Football matches are never the same,” he said.
With Caps United now in eighth place on the log with 10 points in seven matches, six behind leaders Manica Diamonds and Chicken Inn, while Highlanders are in 11th place with eight points from the same number of games, sparks are certain to fly on Sunday.
- Follow Tawanda on Twitter @tafitawa