Chitembwe hopeful of Pfumbidzai return

RONALD Pfumbidzai could return to the Caps United starting line-up when they welcome Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) giants TP Mazembe at the National Sports Stadium in the decisive Confederation of African Football (Caf) Champions League first round second leg match on Sunday.

BY HENRY MHARA

The left-back missed the trip to Lubumbashi for the first leg due to injury, where the Green Machine fought to a one-all draw, with Valentine Musarurwa slotting in his place.

However, speaking at the team’s Press conference yesterday, Caps United coach Lloyd Chitembwe, revealed Pfumbidzai has recovered and could be involved on Sunday.

“The preparations have been ongoing ever since we started the preps for the season. This week we had a very good turnout, everyone is in training. And above all the most important thing is that the attitude has been excellent. I think all is set. Pfumbidzai is training with the group and I’m sure he will participate on Sunday,” Chitembwe said.

The sullen Chitembwe was not exactly showing any enthusiasm as he addressed the media and appeared to attack every question thrown at him with disdain.

Asked how much of a loss to his team the suspended Ronald Chitiyo is, Chitembwe tetchily responded: “It’s a distraction, I don’t want to talk about a player who is not participating and contributing. The focus should be on the team.”

Another question which appeared to irritate Chitembwe was an inquiry as to whether the team was feeling any pressure since TP Mazembe is a big game, and particularly after holding the five-time African champions away from home.

“It’s always pressure, pressure, pressure, aah, you know sometimes I don’t want to respond to that. In football, it’s not important … what is important is preparation and how we play on Sunday,” he responded.

Chitembwe said he would not make any major adjustments to the tactics that gave him a result in DRC
“We know they will come at us, but we won’t play differently from the way we have been playing. No one can play outside of what he is capable of doing, so we will try and apply ourselves in the best way that we know we can get what we want out of the game.

“We are very respectful of our opponents and we will try to do what we can to get the best out of the match. They are a very good team and going into the game, we have a better idea of how they play and we are in a better position now to make some decisions based on what we know they can do.”

The Zimbabwean champions have one foot in the group stages courtesy of an away goal scored by Abbasi Amidu in the opening minute of the first leg before Rainford Kalaba restored parity soon after for TP Mazembe.

“It’s good we got an away goal. It’s good for the confidence and the spirit,” Chitembwe noted.

Caps now need at least a goalless draw or an outright win to progress to the last 16, where they are assured of a $550 000 pay cheque. Any other result will favour the visitors, who face the grim prospect of a successive early Champions League exit.

The losing side on Sunday will drop to the Caf Confederations Cup competition.

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