CHiTEMBWE PLEADS WiTH FANS | CAPS UNITED coach Lloyd Chitembwe says he has embraced the supporters’ high expectations and has called for maximum backing when they face FC Platinum in a top-of-the-table Premiership clash at Mandava this afternoon.
Makepekepe are coming from a disappointing 1-1 draw against Hwange which left the Green Machine divided in the terraces.However, Chitembwe yesterday assured the supporters that the situation is under control as they look to seize the momentum today and take control of the race.The winner between CAPS United and FC Platinum will climb to the top of the log table as log leaders Highlanders are inactive this weekend following the decision by the Premier Soccer League to suspend matches in Bulawayo.
Highlanders were supposed to play Triangle at Barbourfields tomorrow while Tsholotsho host Mutare City at Luveve, but the PSL yesterday said in a statement that “the fixtures have been postponed following security advice from the Zimbabwe Republic Police.”
Highlanders currently lead the race with 26 points while FC Platinum have the same points, but with an inferior goal difference.
CAPS United are third, one point behind.
Chitembwe yesterday said they needed maximum support and urged Makepekepe supporters to travel in their numbers to cheer the team in Mandava.
“We expect them to rally behind the team. This has been one of the best starts in the last 12 years and there is every reason for them to be optimistic.“In fact we have embraced their expectations. We know what they want and we would want to use that as the motivation factor going forward.
“It is because they believe in the team for them to have those high expectations. So they should rally behind the team,” he said.Makepekepe are expected to welcome back in the starting line-up veteran striker Leonard Tsipa who missed the game against Hwange last week because of a knock.
Attacking midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike, who showed signs of discomfort in that game, has also been certified fit.Chitembwe said he is expecting all his players except Abbas Amidu who is currently away on trials with a Germany lower Division side SSv Ulm 1846 Fussball.
Former captain Method Mwanjali left for Tanzania this week.But leftback Ronald Pfumbidzayi and Kudzai Nyamupfukudza are expected to return from suspension.
CAPS United have dominated the league meetings with FC Platinum, having lost only once since 2011 when the platinum miners gained promotion.
However, Mapeza’s men have been enjoying their game this season. Both teams have lost only once after 12 games and Chitembwe said he was looking forward to fierce competition.“Save for Abbas and Method the rest of the guys are there for this match. Tsipa is available for selection.“The reason we rested him last week was because we wanted him to play this game,” said Chitembwe.
“It was only precautionary and he even stated that he was itching to play against FC Platinum more than against Hwange. So he will be considered.
“It will be a difficult game for both teams and a spectacle for the neutrals because both teams play exciting football. FC Platinum have impressed me with their brand of football. We are equally good, in fact it feels good to play against some of the best teams in the league. These kind of games excite everyone, so I can’t wait for it.”
FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza is expected to welcome striker Brian Muzondiwa from injury.The platinum miners were also concerned about fatigue after travelling to Mutare last Sunday and then proceeding to Bulawayo during the midweek for the abortive match against Chicken Inn.
Today: Platinum v CAPS United (Mandava), Chapungu v Chicken Inn (Ascot), Harare City v How Mine (Rufaro), Ngezi Platinum Stars v ZPC Kariba (Baobab),
Sunday: Hwange v Bulawayo City (Colliery), Dynamos v Border Strikers (Rufaro)
Postponed: Tsholotsho v Mutare City Rovers (White City), Highlanders v Triangle (Barbourfields).