HARARE – It is slowly turning out to be probably the worst title defence in the Castle Lager Premiership history but CAPS United have thrown their weight behind under-fire coach Lloyd Chitembwe.
Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to Chicken Inn at Luveve Stadium in Bulawayo was the defending champions’ fourth in their five league matches and their fifth of this season.
It left Makepekepe third from the bottom of the log with 14 points and now trail log leaders Chicken Inn by a massive 24 points although they still have six games in hand.
Makepekepe chief executive officer Cuthbert Chitima said the club still has faith in Chitembwe to stop the rot and lead the side out of this quagmire.
“I think it’s only fair to say we are just going through a bad phase. It does not have anything to do with the coach or the depth of the team,” Chitima told the Daily News.
“If anything, the team is playing really well but it’s only that the results are not coming. We were going to be more worried if we were playing badly.
“It’s not like we are comfortable with what is happening at the moment but we need to be realistic in some of these things.”
Chitima said they will not rush into bringing in new players after losing a number of their key players in recent weeks.
Makepekepe lost forward Abbas Amidu to Egyptian side Smouha and midfielder Ronald Chitiyo is finalising a deal to join Tunisian side Sfaxian.
Defender Ronald Pfumbidzai is on the radar of South Africa’s Bloemfontein Celtic while defender Dennis Dauda was shipped out to Yadah FC.
The Green Machine reacted by bringing back former defender Stephen Makatuka from South Africa after a stint with AmaZulu and unheralded defender David Goriati, who signed from Division One side Makwiro.
“Of course, we still have an opportunity to sign players who are free agents but currently we are not looking at that,” Chitima said.
“It’s psychological and something that can be dealt with. We are going to have a meeting and these are some of the things that we are going to be discussing to see how best we can help the players in trying to recover from this episode.
“These things do happen and you will recall the same thing once happened at Orlando Pirates. After reaching the final of the Champions League, they went on to struggle the following season.
“Even Chelsea once experienced this. So for me, the important thing is how are we going to overcome it. That is what is crucial for us now. We will definitely get it right.”
CAPS United will be desperate to bounce back to winning ways when they face unpredictable ZPC Kariba at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.