The Sunday Mail
IT has been a season full of ups and downs, but he insists the green blood that runs through his veins always gives him a reason to stay put, even under difficult circumstances.
Lloyd Chitembwe, the CAPS United gaffer, has just presided over what he feels has been one of his most difficult seasons, both as a player and coach at the Premiership giants.
Chitembwe has won league championships with CAPS United as a player and coach.
He was part of the cast that won league titles as a player in 1996, under the late Steve Kwashi.
He went on to win two more championships as a member of Charles Mhlauri’s team in 2004 and 2005.
In 2016, he then led CAPS United to the championship from the dugout.
It was also the last time Makepekepe tasted league success.
“It has been one of our difficult seasons, and we all know what transpired. I am sure it is one thing that can be corrected,” said Chitembwe.
CAPS United finished 11th in the just-ended 2021-2022 season, which was characterised by unrest from players over unpaid salaries and bonuses.
Despite the innumerable challenges, Chitembwe did not quit.
Instead, he soldiered on.
He is now planning for what he thinks will be a better 2023.
“It was quite a difficult equation. As a coach, you have to stand between the football club and the players, and what is important is to try to strike the right balance, where you get to represent the club and also get to represent the players, but, at the same time, making sure you do not get to lose your responsibility as a coach, which is to win matches,” he said.
“It is my appeal to everyone associated with the football club that don’t remain stuck in our failure this season, but look forward with a lot of optimism.
“I am looking forward to 2023 with a lot of hope and optimism.”
And club president Farai Jere has been full of praise for the coach for steering the ship in difficult times.
CAPS are considering extending Chitembwe’s three-year contract.
“When I look back as the president, all the credit goes to one man, our coach, Lloyd.
“He could have thrown in the towel, could have pressed a panic button and things could have been more serious than what we went through,” said Jere.
“Even most of us were at wits’ end on how to move forward, but he (Chitembwe) kept on pushing this CAPS United brand.
“Chitembwe is going to be with us, not just for next season, but he has a long contract with the club. We are in the process of negotiating his contract to five or 10 years.
“I do not see us having a better coach than Chitembwe; the CAPS United culture is in him.”
Jere added that they had already set in motion preparations for the 2023 pre-season, as they seek to return to glory days.
“We finished the season competitively and would like to start from there, because we have the core of what we want.
“During this coming off-season, you are going to see the real CAPS United. You are going to see us — the way we are planning things and where we are going,” he said.
“We know what is needed to win the championship; we know what is needed to win the cups because we have won them before. We know the recipe.”