Caps primed for Platinum contest

File picture: Caps United players celebrating

CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe believes the recent turbulence that rocked the team before their league clash with Cranbrone Bullets will not have any mental impact on his players as they travel to Mandava Stadium for a showdown with defending champions FC Platinum on Saturday.

The Green Machine players caused a delay to the start of their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League game with Cranborne Bullets on Sunday as they refused to take to the field until they were paid outstanding winning bonuses.

They only agreed to take to the field after part payments were made and they predictably lost 2-0.

Angered by the conduct of the players, the Caps United hierarchy wielded the axe on three players, goalkeeper Simba Chinani, defender Dennis Dauda and striker Clive Augusto. The other three players skipper Ronald Chitiyo, Rodwell Chinyengetere and Devon Chafa, who had been fingered as the ring leaders were pardoned.

Coach Lloyd Chitembwe believes the issue is now water under the bridge as they focus on realigning their campaign, which was dented by the result.

“So far so good, there are positives, especially on things to do with attitude. The only serious issue was probably to deal with the mental aspect. This is what we have been doing throughout the week and as professional football players they understand these situations, they understand their obligations and duties. They have to go and try to be competitive. The responsibility to make sure we go out there and do what is expected of us — to try to get the result,” said Chitembwe, adding that he has been telling his players to turn a page quickly and focus on the clash against FC Platinum.

Caps United, who are 12 points behind log leaders Dynamos, have been boosted by the return of centreback Marshal Machazane from suspension having missed the last two matches which they lost.

The highly-rated defender is expected to fill in the gap left following the dismissal of Dauda who has been playing regularly since joining in March.

FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza remains wary of Caps United notwithstanding the turbulence that rocked the Green Machine ship.

“We are facing a very good Caps United side, with a lot of experienced players,” Mapeza said.

“It is not going to be easy because we are coming from a loss against Herentals. We lost and we don’t have complaints, the boys worked very hard.

“At the end what matters is the result and losing is part of the game. We now look forward to the next game against Caps United which I know will be difficult, so we must be ready for a tough challenge.

“It’s good that we have Gift Bello back after the head injury he suffered last weekend against Herentals. We hope to have him on Saturday.”

The match will be a home-coming show for Chinyengetere who will face his former paymasters for the first time since he left to join Caps United earlier this year.

In the previous encounters, the two teams clashed 18 times, with FC Platinum managing two wins while Caps United won five times. They drew on 11 occasions, thus giving the visitors a psychological advantage.

Mapeza though will take comfort from the fact that they won their last meeting which was a title decider at the National Sports Stadium in 2019.

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