CHITEMBWE DELIGHTED :THE SQUAD IS COMPLETE AGAIN | CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe is delighted to have a full squad complement at the key moment in the championship race after reporting a clean bill of health ahead of Saturday’s cagey Castle Lager Premiership clash with Harare City at Rufaro.
Makepekepe, front-runners in this year’s title race, yesterday had a rare luxury of a full house at training as they braced for a tough assignment against the Sunshine Boys. The Green Machine appeared in high spirits with all players taking part in the drills, including long-term injury worry — midfielder Archieford Gutu — and big goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda who is set to reclaim his position this week after recovering fully from a rib injury he had picked in the Chibuku Super Cup first round match against Tsholotsho.
The former Zimbabwe number one goalkeeper has been out of action for over a month although he sat on the bench in their last outing against Dynamos. Makepekepe are also set to welcome back into the fold Golden Boot top contender Leonard Tsipa and Phineas Bamusi who missed the Harare Derby two weeks ago because of suspension.
“It’s good to have all the players back. It’s good to have Leonard back and it’s also good to have Phineas back.
“They have been important figures in the team and I just hope they will contribute in the same way they have been doing ever since we started the season.
“The other good thing also is that Eddy (Edmore Sibanda) is back. We are happy and delighted to have him back. “In terms of injuries, I am sure we have managed to recover from those setbacks of missing some key players in crucial matches so we are happy to have everyone available,” said Chitembwe.
Former captain Hardlife Zvirekwi gave the technical crew quite a scare after sustaining a knock towards the end of the training session, but to their relief, it was nothing much to worry about.
“It’s nothing serious. It was just a knock in training, but it’s not anything big,” said Chitembwe.Zimbabwe international Zvirekwi has also been a consistent player in the CAPS United defence with the right back also involved in a number of assists whenever he has ventured forward.
The Green Machine, despite their remarkable run this year, have been struggling with injuries particularly to key players such as winger Tafadzwa Rusike, Abbas Amidu, Sibanda and Gutu. They lead the race for the ultimate prize in domestic football with 54 points, one ahead of Highlanders and two on top of FC Platinum with just three matches remaining in the season.
Chitembwe and his charges have to collect as many points as they can to avoid the disappointment of losing the title on the final day. Barring further misfortunes, the technical team will be spoilt for choice this week as they have all the players in good health.
“It’s good to have everyone back because we don’t wish for injuries. It gives me a very good feeling that everyone is fit and wants to participate and also to contribute to the cause of the team. “That’s the kind of feeling that I get, but at the end of the day we expect every one to do what he is supposed to do. The players need to work hard and the coaches have to work hard as well.”
CAPS United also seem to have benefited from the break in the Premiership programme as attention shifted to the Chibuku Cup semi-finals.Although this has been one of the best weeks for Makepekepe in terms of the bill of health, Chitembwe still predicted a difficult game against Moses Chunga’s men.
The former CAPS United midfield hardman said City, who derailed title rivals FC Platinum with a 2-1 defeat at the same venue three weeks ago, could be potential party spoilers.
“We are preparing the same way we have been preparing for all our matches. The approach is obviously the same. We know it’s going to be a difficult game, but I don’t think we are in this situation by default. We are a hardworking team and we just hope to continue in the same vein on Saturday.
“But Harare City have some talented players and a good coach in Bambo (Moses Chunga). I think he has done very well ever since he joined them.“It puts them in a position to give us a very difficult time. But we will try and prepare for that. Hopefully we will get a (positive) result,” said Chitembwe.But Makepekepe experienced tragedy during the week when they lost one of their popular supporters Stan Makwara.
The club’s board member responsible for supporters Abraham Kawadza said Makwara, who died on Tuesday, will be buried today in Kadoma.The supporters had to source funds to assist with a decent burial as the deceased was of no fixed abode in Harare.
Kawadza said Makwara was known to be epileptic.“We are one big family at CAPS United and this man was one of us. So the supporters have done something towards the funeral. Our members are meeting at the funeral parlour in the afternoon (yesterday) to give him a decent send-off and thereafter the body leaves for Kadoma,” said Kawadza.
Saturday: Harare City v CAPS United (Rufaro), Ngezi Platinum v Hwange (Baobab), Chapungu v FC Platinum (Ascot), Highlanders v Tsholotsho (Barbourfields)
Sunday: Border Strikers v Triangle (Dulivhadzimu), Dynamos v Mutare City (Rufaro), How Mine v Chicken Inn (Luveve), Bulawayo City v ZPC Kariba (Barbourfields)