IT all looked green as Caps United began their 2018 pre-season training at the National Sports Stadium last week.
The first few days saw some heavy running and the tempo upped on Thursday and Friday as the technical team led by Lloyd Chitembwe put more emphasis on ball movement.
The old hand Nelson Matongorere, who has returned to Caps United after 18 years to take the technical advisor’s post, took charge of some of the drills.
Former players Albert “Dhalala” Mabika and David Sengu also came in to assist while Chitembwe’s deputy Fungai “Tostao” Kwashi, was as energetic as ever.
At times Chitembwe watched from a distance as his assistants took control of proceedings.
“We want them (passes) long and short, come on, come on let’s do it!” screamed Matongorere who is clearly enjoying being back in the big time.
Caps United are rebuilding after losing some key players and Chitembwe wants his team to be moulded around some veterans.
The returning duo of Oscar Machapa and Dominic Mukandi was full of energy while veteran keeper Munyaradzi Diya, who has joined United from How Mine, looked at home in a green top and a black bottom.
Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo, who is back from Tunisia attended training but watched from the sidelines while former Dynamos midfielder Wisdom Mutasa was part of the mix.
Former Caps United striker Washington Pakamisa, who was offloaded by Ngezi Platinum and Munyaradzi Diro Nyenye who has left the up-for-sale Yadah FC also attended training.
Hard tackling centre back Steven Makatuka, Joel “Josta” Ngodzo, Cabby Kamhapa, Valentine Musarurwa, Zvikomborero Bizeki, John Zhuwawo, Justice Jangano and new signing Brian “Bhidho” Muzondiwa were all available.
Devon Chafa, who is still to sort out his future after his intended move to Egyptian club Wadi Degla hit a snag, was not available but Chitembwe remains optimistic.
“The attendance has been very good and I am very much encouraged,” the Caps United coach told The Sunday Mail after Thursday’s work out.
“I think most of the players we wanted to be here are here and we are good to go.”
Chitembwe has also been linked with a reunion Simba Nhivi and Method Mwanjali and the Caps coach, who brought the best out of a then 34-year-old Tsipa, as his side romped to the championship podium in 2016, defended his love for “old horses.”
“You see, people are sometimes blinkered in their concentration with age. I look at ability and not age,” remarked Chitembwe.
“Sometimes you don’t follow what people say but you make decisions that are good for the team. If you look at Machapa, he might be 30 but he brings dependability. In terms of ability, Oscar (Machapa) is a worthy addition.”
Asked about the presence of Mabika and Sengu, Chitembwe said, “Not only players ask to be part of our training sessions, even coaches also want to learn.
“They felt they could get more exposure by being with us and morally it’s not good to turn them down.”
And just like one big family, Caps United players also had time to celebrate the retired Tsipa’s 36th birthday after Thursday’s session, although in a bizarre way.
Zvirekwi, Mukandi and Diya hauled Tsipa towards a running hose pipe and soaked the Caps United legend who helplessly tried to free himself.
“Happy birthday mudhara,” some of the players shouted as they strolled towards the team bus.
The Makepekepe faithful cannot help but be confident!
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