BY SPORTS REPORTER
For a long time, CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe has been labelled a conservative tactician who prefers to work with experienced players instead of young ones.
However, the 2016 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League winning coach believes it’s an unfair analysis of his coaching approach following his club’s investment in young and experienced attacking talent ahead of the new season, which kicks off on March 30.
“I don’t think it’s a fair analysis of things; it’s unfortunate that sometimes people want to make you something they wish you could be, but I’ve my own way of seeing things. Of course naturally sometimes you want to keep it safe, but at the same time the whole idea is to win a football match and you want to try and strike that right balance,” Chitembwe said.
“There’s no template that says one must sign and work with old players, but what is critical is quality. If a young player is good, he’s old enough to play. If you look at the young boys here they have what it takes to be here, I’m very happy and excited to have them, very good young players for the future.”
The Harare giants have invested heavily in attacking players after completing the signings of former Highlanders forwards Gabriel Nyoni (26) and Newman Sianchali (32), while speedy winger Phineas Bhamusi (28) rejoined after a successful spell with Lowveld side Triangle.
CAPS United also captured 19-year-old Clive Rupiya, a product of Sprouting Academy who is rated as one of the brightest young prospects on the local scene, and there is an expected return to action of Ronald Chitiyo, who missed the whole of last season due to injury.
Chitembwe said the club’s transfer business during the preseason was motivated by the desire to widen their attacking options after being found wanting in that department last season.
The Green Machine endured a woeful campaign where they finished 30 points behind champions FC Platinum in eighth place.
Chitembwe believes his new signings will bring a new attacking dimension to drive the club towards a better season compared to the previous one.
“The reason why we had to go for more forward players was because last season we were probably found wanting in these areas, we just lacked the speed, the innovation, we just didn’t have the imagination when going forward and having these players I believe they have that in abundance. They have the imagination, they have everything that you want in a forward player,” he said.
“So yeah, the opportunity was right and the moment was probably right to have them. Last season, of course, things were not right for us; we were not in a position to have the players that we really wanted so to some extent we were a bit restricted. But this season we are happy we’re in this kind of situation.”