Chitembwe ‘unhappy’ with new signings

The last two league campaigns have been forgettable for the Green Machine who had to fight relegation on both occasions and the club is hoping for better fortunes this season.

CAPS United coach Lloyd Sibanda has expressed dissatisfaction at his own transfer business after the club unveiled 10 new signings for the upcoming season last Thursday.

The last two league campaigns have been forgettable for the Green Machine who had to fight relegation on both occasions and the club is hoping for better fortunes this season.

Veterans such as Bruce Kangwa (35) Lot Chiunga (37) and Ralph Kawondera (33) headline the list of new conscripts in Chitembwe’s squad for the 2024 season.

The club also unveiled Junior Bunjira, son to club legend Alois Bunjira, Brian Kadamanja, Jayden Bakare, Munyaradzi Chirwa, Tapiwa Rusenza, Wayne Makuva and 16-year-old Simba Delroy Gunda, as they look to improve on last year's chaotic season when they finished a distant eighth on the log standings.

CAPS United were only eight points above the relegation zone thanks to a nine-match unbeaten run towards the end of the season.

Asked if he was happy with his transfer business in the current window, Chitembwe said otherwise.

“There is no coach that can be happy until the end of the season and I am one of those coaches. If Lionel Messi can be made available for us then I will probably be much happier. We are in the process of trying to improve the team every day. We want to explore more on the team and see how far we can go," he told reporters.

“The whole essence is to try and improve the team. If ever we get a very good player, better than the ones we have, then certainly we will try and have them on board," Chitembwe added.

While avoiding to talk about the club’s title aspirations, Chitembwe said the objective every season has always been to win games.

"The objectives for the season have always been the same. Every coach wants to perform better, wants to win games and for me this is the essence of why I train the team every day. This is the reason why we are here at a football club that has so many heritages. The whole essence is to win matches," he said.

Joseph Tulani, one of CAPS United's top performers last season, has since left while eight others including veterans Joel Ngodzo and Kelvin Madzongwe were released.

Chitembwe said he was happy that the club was in a better financial standing compared to the last few seasons when money problems made headlines.

"I'm very happy that things seem to be coming together, unlike the last two seasons where the impediments were there to see. We were not as resourced as we are now. So we had to behave in a manner that suited those moments. This football club is now in a position where things seem to be knitting up nicely, and I'm extremely happy to be part of it during this moment," he said.

The CAPS United coach has come under heavy criticism for his bias towards ageing players in his recruitment policy but boss Farai Jere who is the club's president and majority shareholder has backed him.

“I am not worried about age; we are not here to groom players. We want to do business at 3pm. We will continue with that trajectory until we have very good youngsters who can immediately make an impact,” he said.

Jere was also full of praise for Chitembwe. He expressed the desire to have the coach lead the club for as long as he lives.

 “People easily forget history. When Chitembwe came back from Harare City in 2021, CAPS United had no money and he only had two weeks to assemble a squad. Even when things were tough, Chitembwe did not abandon ship. You are a great asset to this institution and I want you to be with this club for as long as I live,” Jere said.

The 2024 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League is expected to start on the weekend of February 24 while the Castle Challenge Cup is slated a week earlier at Baobab with league champions Ngezi Platinum playing Cup winners Dynamos..

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