NOT many gave CAPS United a chance to beat USM Alger and they produced an almighty performance to beat the Algerians in the CAF Champions League group stages at the National Sports Stadium a fortnight ago.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
This time many expected the Zimbabwe champions to steamroll past the Libyan visitors at the same venue on Friday and Makepekepe inexplicably imploded.
CAPS United were three nil down after just 25 minutes and were lucky to have only a four-goal deficit with nine minutes to go against a team they expected to get the points from to entertain chances of progressing to the last eight stages of the competition.
Friday’s game was easily the worst display by CAPS United in the competition and the unanswered question remains, what went wrong for Makepekepe?
For the first time in this competition, Lloyd Chitembwe demonstrated uncharacteristic tactical ineptitude.
While CAPS United’s lack of depth was always going to come back to haunt them, Chitembwe’s lack of trust for his bench was also apparent.
In his defence, Chitembwe alluded to the fact that his team’s preparations were affected by injuries to a number of his top players.
“Competition is a measurement of preparations and I think in this game we didn’t prepare as much as we should have prepared, considering that a number of players were out injured. Most of them never trained and they only played today. To some extent, that obviously had an effect on the performance of the team,” Chitembwe said in his post-match interview.
For some reason, Chitembwe was intent on playing the injured players despite the fact that he has 25 registered players.
He chose to play an unfit Hardlife Zvirekwi in central defence, where Dennis Dauda usually plays, opting to keep a fit Carlton Munzambwa on the bench and only bringing him in when the damage had already been done.
Chitembwe revealed midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike needed a painkilling injection to feature in Friday’s match having not trained the entire week due to injury.
CAPS even attempted to play Edmore Sibanda but he did not last the pre-match warm up period.
Still, Chitembwe insisted lack of depth was not the cause of the defeat.
“It has nothing to do with depth, rules are rules we are only allowed to register 25 players. I’m sure it [the performance] has a lot to do with the number of games we have to play in a short period. We were playing three games in less than five days and it’s now showing and these are the repercussions,” he said.
Chitembwe also ruled out complacency.
“It has nothing to do with complacency because we are talking footballers who know what they want. In the past performances, these guys have shown their desire and commitment. After this you don’t expect these guys to be complacent,” defended Chitembwe
While injuries may obviously have affected Makepekepe’s normal game, the rest of the fit players were not themselves.
Abbas Amidu, who had a blinder of a match against Alger, was wasteful in front of goal, while Ronald Chitiyo always found himself playing a bit too deep to cause any problems for the visitors.
In the central of the park, Moses Muchenje and Devon Chafa’s pass success rate left a lot to be desired.
But good news for CAPS is that Zamalek failed to beat USM Alger in the other group match, which leaves the group wide open ahead of the next round of fixtures in a fortnight.