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Caps brace for tough Manica challenge

Lloyd Chitembwe

Harare giants Caps United say they are looking forward to a tough challenge when they kick-off the 2023 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season when they take on Manica Diamonds at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.

Makepekepe endured a difficult season last year and finished in an uncharacteristic 11th place due on and off-field struggles.

But it promises to be a much better season for the Green Machine judging by their transfer business which saw them make some top signings, bringing in Godknows Murwira, Kelvin Madzongwe, Tafadzwa Rusike and King Nadolo among others.

However, their first test of the season will be at home to the Gems Boys.

“We don’t control them, so we expect a challenge. They are our opponents and we don’t have control on whatever they are to do. We will just see how they play and then we will react in the match accordingly,” coach Lloyd Chitembwe said yesterday.

Chitembwe expressed satisfaction at the preparation that the team has had ahead of the new season.

“I feel we have done some decent preparation for the start of the season, so we are looking forward to the start of the new season. We have gone on to bring a decent number of players and like I have always said, having taken a good prognosis of the team we realised that we lacked both depth in quality and depth in numbers, so it was an improvement in both aspects,” he said.

Former captain Moses Muchenje could be angling for a return to Makepekepe and was present at the team’s training yesterday while he engaged in a lengthy conversation on the side-lines with the coach towards the end of practice.

Manica Diamonds have also had a busy pre-season where they made some telling acquisitions and will be expected to challenge for top honours this season.

Jairos Tapera is leading the club’s rebuilding exercise after joining from Triangle last season and has brought a good number of experienced players. Veteran striker Donald Ngoma joined from Triangle United as did the former Dynamos duo of Trevor Mavhunga and midfielder Ralph Kawondera.

The Gem Boys also signed highly-rated full-back Farai Banda from Black Rhinos, with Panashe Mutasa coming from relegated WhaWha and Gerald Bhero also coming from Triangle.

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