By Robson Sharuko
Denver Mukamba has been put on a special and tough training programme by CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe for him to try and catch up with his teammates who have been in pre-season for a number of weeks now, and yesterday he ran so much he ended up drinking more than five litres of water.
The former Zimbabwe skipper’s second day of training at the Green Machine yesterday was a brutal exercise which showed him that his adventure at the Harare giants will not be a stroll in the park but will require him to go an extra mile to bounce back into the fitness that Chitembwe demands.
After the red carpet was rolled for him on day one of his training with Makepekepe on Wednesday, following his completion of a one-year loan move from bitter rivals Dynamos who rejected him because of his waywardness, Mukamba was quickly dragged into the real world yesterday by Chitembwe.
And it’s not one that Mukamba has been familiar with, in recent months, when he hogged the newspaper headlines for his spectacular fallout with DeMbare gaffer Lloyd Mutasa, the coach who gave him his breakthrough into the big time seven years ago. After being treated as a Prince on Wednesday when the CAPS United establishment, including club president Farai Jere, welcomed him into their stable, Chitembwe quickly changed gears yesterday and reminded him he will have to work very hard to earn his stripes at the Green Machine.
He isolated him from the rest of the CAPS United players, who have been in pre-season for weeks now, and told him he will have to follow a special tough fitness programme before he can be considered to start training with his new teammates.
And his lack of fitness showed during those drills as he consumed more than five litres of water during the session and was so tired, after it, he even asked club chief executive Cuthbert Chitima for someone to drive him home so that he could sleep and be ready for today’s session.
But, before he went home, he passed through the offices of his manager Gibson Mahachi, who was his pillar of strength during the dark days when he was being rejected by his boyhood club DeMbare, to give him a report of his second day at the Green Machine.
“Denver came to the office today and his face appeared different from someone whom I had been dealing with in the past few weeks,” Mahachi told The Herald.
“There was a sparkle in his eyes and a brightness with his face, he was smiling all the time and he told me that he was quite happy he has found some people who have chosen to give him love rather than cast him away as a reject.
“He told me that he was very tired because he had been put through some tough paces by the coach Chitembwe and this was just the beginning of a programme in which his new coach wants to ensure he gets into prime physical condition.
“He said he had taken more than five litres of water during the session to stabilise himself after some tough fitness exercises and that’s encouraging because it means that he is getting some bad stuff out of his system and he is being shaped into the athlete that we all want him to be.
“When he was ordered not to train at Dynamos recently, he was down, very down, for about two days or so and it’s good to see that there is a spark on his face again and he looks a man who feels happy again.”
Mahachi revealed that Mukamba had a lengthy one-on-one chat with Chitembwe who told him, in no uncertain terms, he was not someone who tolerated indiscipline but would try very hard to help him get to the level the coach expects from him.
“They had a chat, one-on-one and they discussed a lot of things and the coach was clear to him that he would not tolerate any nonsense but was willing to help him, if he wanted, to get back to the level he wants him to play football,” said Mahachi.
“The young man has made some big mistakes, no doubt about that, but I have always said that he is not the worst character in football and his issues have been blown out of proportion because of who he is and we understand that.
“But Denver is a good footballer and he told me that he wants to repay the love that Chitembwe and Mr Farai Jere (the CAPS United president) have shown in him to give him a chance when many others were not willing to do that and all that he needs is to get fit and he will show his true colours.”
CAPS United also signed former Zimbabwe international midfielder Peter “Rio” Moyo yesterday after the player impressed Chitembwe during a practice match against Division One side ZRP FC at Morris Depot.
Interestingly, the CAPS United technical team had decided on Wednesday that Moyo, who turns 30 in two months time, did not fit their expectations and told the club’s leadership to give him money to return to his base in Bulawayo and look for another team.
However, a starring show in what was his last chance to impress, convinced Chitembwe to give the midfielder a chance and he signed his deal yesterday.