Caps United . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
Ngezi Platinum Stars . . . . . . 0
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe says things have normalised at the club and is satisfied with the direction the team is taking despite its failure to collect maximum points.
Speaking after his team put up a spirited performance to hold Ngezi Platinum Stars in a lively contest at the National Sports Stadium on Monday, which was their fourth draw in as many matches, Chitembwe revealed that he was forced to train with 10 players in the past two weeks as the rest boycotted in protest over outstanding salaries and allowances.
In preparation for the Black Rhinos match last week, Chitembwe said only 10 players showed up at training, but they managed to raise a team which went to Mutare and battled for a point in a 1-1 draw against the soldiers.
Things went back to normal this week as all players returned to training and the coach had a full complement to work with.
“This week was probably our most valuable week because we had a full team,” Chitembwe said.
“We know where we are coming from and what we want to achieve and I’m happy with the progress.”
Despite the problems in the Caps United camp, this clash was still billed as one of the blockbusters of the weekend, and it certainly produced fireworks.
“It was a good game of football from my boys. Both teams played really well, and looking at my team I can only say the boys were excellent today considering the fact that we never had a pre-season unlike some of these teams who were forever preparing for the season. From that perspective, I’m happy with the way they applied themselves. Mentally, they were up there. But you can tell the sharpness is still not there and what brings that sharpness is when you have more hours training, repeating things over and over. You can’t falter the effort, they gave their all but you can tell there are some areas that need to be worked on. But you can see that this is a team that has potential to improve and has capacity to perform well and win matches. I’m very satisfied.”
Ngezi Platinum Stars showed why they have been tipped as one of the favourites to win the title, with some crisp passing in the early stages of the match.
But Caps United eventually came into the game with Tatenda Tavengwa, on his debut and Devon Chafa, facing his former side for the first time, imposing themselves in midfield.
It was Caps United goalkeeper Simba Chinani, who was the busier of the two goalies though, blocking some potshots. His hands were stung by a Denver Mukamba shot from close range midway through the first half and the former Dynamos goalkeeper was almost caught off guard by the midfielder who tried his luck from the centre line after realising that the goalie was off his line.
The effort went wide, much to the relief of Chinani, who was rushing back to his area.
Crosses were raining inside the Caps United box, especially from the right channel where Valentine Kadonzvo was operating, but somehow the strikers failed to complement his efforts.
Caps United struggled to create meaningful chances in the first half, but almost got their noses upfront early in the second half when Phineas Bhamusi whipped in a good cross that Rodwell Chinyengetere headed wide.
Chances were few and far in between in the second half with the best falling to Bruno Mtigo on 90th minute when he was slipped through by substitute Last Jesi, but he shot wide.
Ngezi interim coach Takesure Chiragwi said he was happy with his team’s performance.
Caps United: S Chinani, D Dauda, K Bulaji, J Tulani, V Musarurwa, T Tavengwa, D Chafa, P Bhamusi, W Manondo (R Chitiyo, 70’), R Chinyengetere (I Nyoni, 81’), C Augusto
Ngezi Platinum Stars: N Chadya, K Chigwida, C Mavhurume, Q Amini, P Moyo, M Mukumba, B Mtigo, A Chivandire (M Kwinjo, 80’), V Kadonzvo (M Mushonga, 65’), D Mukamba (L Jesi, 80’), D Murimba