The Sunday Mail
LLOYD CHITEMBWE makes an emotional return to the CAPS United dugout, the Premiership’s man of the moment Clive Augusto takes his roadshow to the Colliery while Norman Mapeza leads the champions into battle at Barbourfields, in what promises to be an intriguing Sunday afternoon.
After a turbulent three weeks, which saw the CAPS United boat rocking in the boardroom, leaving Chitembwe on the verge of quitting his post, normalcy seems to have been restored at Makepekepe as they face Yadah Stars at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
Yadah Stars are third from bottom .
Chitembwe missed United’s last two matches against TelOne and ZPC Kariba, raising speculation over the gaffer’s future at Makepekepe amid reports of a boardroom wrangle.
And today, Makepekepe, who are winless in their last four league matches, also begin life without flying winger Gabriel Nyoni, who last week joined South African side Maritzburg United.
“It’s good to be back, it’s one and the same…there’s this realisation that we just have to make sure we focus on what we are supposed to do,” Chitembwe told The Sunday Mail Sport.
“Everyone knows it’s a very big responsibility to be part of the team. The constituency that we serve is very huge so we just have to make sure that we make those people (CAPS United fans) happy.”
CAPS United welcomes back goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba, the influential Joel “Josta” Ngodzo, Blessing Sarupinda and Kudzai Nyamupfukudza.
The quartet had been on suspension.
The club has also finalised Method Mwanjale’s contract extension deal but United remain without influential vice-captain Valentine Musarurwa, who is still nursing an injury.
“Everything (about Mwanjale’s papers) is sorted and I am happy. It’s all about doing those little things consistently,” said Chitembwe.
During the period they were experiencing in-house problems, CAPS United slipped from the top to third place after a four-match winless run and they have conceded 10 times in 360 minutes of football.
They are now four points behind log leaders FC Platinum who have so far accumulated 27 points.
Champions FC Platinum, who are bidding to win a third straight league title under the astute guidance of Norman Mapeza, take their quest to Barbourfields where they clash against Highlanders in a high stakes encounter.
For Highlanders’ new coach Mandla Mpofu, this is his first home match in charge and the national Under-23 assistant could have asked for a better opponent than the platinum miners who are yet to lose to Bosso in a league match in Bulawayo since October 2013.
However, Mapeza, whose side is missing a number of key players through suspension and injuries, insists this one could be a different scenario.
“It’s a different ball game, the last time we were talking about beating Dynamos for the past four years but they came to Mandava and won.
“We have to continue working hard, we have to show character,” said Mapeza.
But you have to raise a glass to Mapeza and his side, who despite playing non-stop football for the past 30 months, are still soldiering on in a Premiership race that has been spiced up by the resurgence of CAPS United and Chicken Inn.
“It’s all about discipline and dedication from the players. We are also trying to manage our players in terms of their recovery because we still have about five months of football left in this season.
“It’s all about consistency, if you look at CAPS united and Chicken Inn, they have been doing well. The situation at the moment favours CAPS and Chicken Inn for the reasons we have been talking about all along, issues to do with us playing non-stop football for a long time.
“We are however still in a predicament, we have Raphael (Muduviwa), and Lameck Nhamo out through injury, Lawrence is also out through suspension.
“The Moyo twins, Kelvin and Elvis, Madhanaga (Edwin) and Petros Mhari are away on trials,” said Mapeza.
Football fans in Hwange have a chance to witness live the Premiership’s most talked about player, Augusto, when the fired up Gamecocks invade the Colliery.
Augusto, whose 13 goals in 13 matches have powered the Gamecocks to 26 points and being second on the log, is no doubt the league’s hottest property.
The former Ngezi Platinum Stars striker now has a good chance of breaking the 20-goal barrier and becoming the first player to do so since Norman Maroto, who banged 22 for Gunners back in 2010.
“The sky is the limit, it’s all about hard work. We are fighting as a team,” Augusto said.
Hwange v Chicken Inn (Colliery), Highlanders v FC Platinum (BF), CAPS United v Yadah (NSS), Triangle United v TelOne (Gibbo), Mushowani Stars v Herentals (Trojan)