CAPS United’s recent run of form reads five games, four defeats and one draw — a disturbing record for defending champions who impressed on the continental stage this year.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
While many have already disqualified them from the title race, they still believe the ultimate prize is within their grasp.
But first they have to stop the rot which has seen them collect one point from a possible 15 when they take on ZPC Kariba at their once indomitable fortress, the National Sports Stadium (NSS) this afternoon.
Another defeat will be catastrophic for Makepekepe and could mean a shameful end to Lloyd Chitembwe’s highly successful tenure at the club.
Chitembwe cut a forlorn figure when Standardsport visited the team’s training at NSS’s B Arena on Friday.
He stood aloof, arms folded for the better part of the training as his assistants conducted the session.
Time and again he would scribble a few notes in a notebook he was holding.
A one-hour long team talk concluded a generally sombre training session and understandably so. Chitembwe refused to face the journalists, instead delegating the duty to assistant coach Fungai Kwashi.
“A champion never gives up, a champion never hides, a champion remains focused and works hard. We have 21 games to play, which is 60 plus points to play for, so we will not press the panic button but we will embrace the situation and work hard to give our fans three points and give ourselves a lift [today],” Kwashi said after he was asked whether the team had revised its target for the season.
“In this business, things happen quickly and anyone who knows football understands the situation where we are. We know the situation we are in right now, we have not been winning matches, we are in a bad patch but it’s all part of football, it happens everywhere in the world,” he added.
More worrying is the rate at which the Harare giants have been conceding goals, shipping in 11 goals in the last five matches.
Interestingly, before their 3-1 defeat to How Mine about two weeks ago, Caps United had gone 26 matches without losing at the NSS.
They will be looking to begin another impressive home run beginning with the ZRP match.
“Today our fans can expect a positive, hardworking, a hungry and a wounded Caps United. As a team we spoke about it after training and everybody knows what they have to do and we have regrouped; we are working hard and we are focusing on ZPC Kariba and nothing else,” Kwashi said.
After losing a number of key players such as Ronald Chitiyo Dennis Dauda and Abbas Amidu, among others, CAPS United also have to make do without Justice Jangano, Tafadzwa Rusike and Edmore Sibanda who are injured.
At other centres, Highlanders entertain Harare City with Hwange hosting airmen Chapungu and Triangle have a home date with Bantu Rovers.