HARARE – CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe has urged his side to bounce back from their first defeat of the season when they host ZPC Kariba at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow.
The Green Machine’s unbeaten streak in the 2016 Castle Lager Premiership season was brought to an end last weekend in Bulawayo after they went down 2-1 to Kelvin Kaindu’s How Mine.
Before that, Makepekepe had been undefeated in five matches after wins over Chapungu, Harare City, Dynamos, Border Strikers and a draw with Ngezi Platinum Stars.
That run had seen United rise to the top of the table as they edged ahead of FC Platinum on goal difference.
Chitembwe’s men slipped down to third place on the log table with 13 points after the defeat to the gold miners last weekend with Platinum assuming top spot while Highlanders moved into second place.
ZPC Kariba’s visit tomorrow gives Makepekepe an immediate opportunity to redeem themselves and maintain pressure on the log leaders.
“I don’t think there is any difference coming into this match. We will try and approach it in the same manner that we have approached the other matches that we have played in recent weeks. The whole idea obviously will be to win it,” Chitembwe said.
“These things happen in football and anyone of these players has faced defeat in their careers and I as a coach have also faced these moments. We knew that at some point during the season we would lose a game if not games.
“What is key is the response of the players from such a disappointing episode. And I am happy to say the response in training has been superb. The team knows what we want and we are only hoping to pick maximum points on Saturday.”
Chitembwe feels their defeat to How Mine has done little to damage their aspirations for the remainder of the season.
“I think our season is on track. We played six games won four, drew one and one defeat; I think it’s a good run by the team,” he said.
“We can still go and do better but I think the boys have done tremendous work so far.”
Turning to their clash against ZPC, Chitembwe expects a difficult match from the Kariba-based which is currently enjoying a good start to the season.
Sunday Chidzambwa’s men currently sit in fifth place on the log only two points behind Makepekepe and come into tomorrow’s match on the back of a 2-0 home win over debutants Mutare City Rovers.
“ZPC are a very good team and obviously being coached by an iconic coach (Chidzambwa) it will not be an easy match,” Chitembwe said.
“They have been doing well in recent match and we have also been doing well and we expect it to be a good game especially for the fans.”
Earlier on this week, Chidzambwa told the Daily News they will be coming to Harare to collect maximum points.
“Just like every other games, picking maximum points is what we want, nothing less. It is just going to be another game and we shall give it all it deserves to wrestle the maximum points at stake,” Chidzambwa said.
“I’m pleased with how the team has performed thus far. I think we are coming up well. It’s not a bad start at all what we need to do is to maintain our form.”
Saturday: FC Platinum v Border Strikers (Mandava), Tsholotsho v Dynamos (Barbourfields), Chapungu v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Ascot), CAPS United v ZPC Kariba (Rufaro)
Sunday: Mutare City Rovers v Chicken Inn (Sakubva), Triangle v Bulawayo City (Gibbo), Hwange v How Mine (Colliery), Highlanders v Harare City (Barbourfields)