CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe has defended his recruitment of old war horses as he believes experience will be key in the Green Machine’s campaign to get back to the top.
Makepekepe featured a team with an average age hovering above 29 years when they faced bitter rivals Dynamos in the semi-final of the Commander ZNA Charities Shield, which they lost 0-1 at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Although they fell short, Chitembwe chose to pick the positives from the match after the Green Machine stamped their authority on the pitch, but could not get the breakthrough against their youthful opponents.
Former captain Method Mwanjali, running on a pair of 35-year-old legs, was the oldest player on the pitch, but he still marshalled the Green Machine’s defence well alongside another veteran Stephen Makatuka, Justice Jangano and Kudzanayi Nyamupfukudza.
CAPS United have welcomed back into the fold former captain Mwanjali, who left the club two years back to join Tanzanian outfit Simba SC, Oscar Machapa, Dominic Mukandi and Chris Mverechena, who had been loaned out to Triangle.
Chitembwe again went for experience when he brought in goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya and former Black Rhinos and FC Platinum striker Brian Muzondiwa. CAPS United have also welcomed back midfielder Ronald Chitiyo and taken on board former Zimbabwe youth internationals Praise Tonha and Wisdom Mutasa.
“It’s very easy to work with those, guys, especially the experienced guys.
“They give you so much in terms of dependability and I’m sure this is one thing we really need to be competitive.
“These guys are very dependable. They know what we want, they know what the club wants and the expectations of the fans out there. I am sure these are the guys that can really manage that kind of expectations,” said Chitembwe.
Mwanjali, the former national team captain with experience spanning over 15 years, returned to the club after severing ties with Simba SC of Tanzania because of recurrent injuries.
He has since recovered and on Sunday he reminded the supporters from both sides that he is not a spent force yet with some good interceptions.
The other new signings Mukandi, Tonha, Muzondiwa and Machapa were also given a run in the match.
Chitembwe said he was not reading much into the result as he has set his sights on the bigger picture to be competitive ahead of the new season.
“If anything, I was very much impressed by the commitment shown by the boys and our organisation, especially in the second half.
“The first half did not go the way we had anticipated, but all the same I think it was expected since it was our first training game this year.
“And in as far as I am concerned, we are ahead of the schedule. Usually it takes a team six weeks to be ready and considering what I saw today, I think we are we are doing well.
“We just need to improve on some certain important aspects of the game,” said Chitembwe.
The Green Machine are dreaming of turning back the hands of time to the year 2016, when they last won the league title with veteran Leonard Tsipa, who won the Golden Boot Award, being their mainstay.