HARARE – CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe has praised the fighting spirit of his players after they weathered a TP Mazembe storm to storm into the group stages of the African Champions League yesterday.
Having played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Lubumbashi last week, Makepekepe held out for a goalless draw here to progress to the last 16 of this competition for the first time in the club’s history.
Makepekepe were, however, made to work hard as Mazembe threw everything at them throughout the match but the five-time African champions could not find a breakthrough.
“At the end of the day, the players deserve special mention. The spirit within this group is out of this world,” Chitembwe said.
“I just want to attribute our success to the spirit of this group because everyone in our set-up worked hard towards achieving this success.”
Makepekepe knew that they would always have a chance if they could get a result in Lubumbashi because they have turned the National Sports Stadium into a fortress since last year.
This is a venue where they have only one defeat since 2016 and yesterday they used their home advantage to get the result they desired.
“It all comes down to belief. I’m sure the boys believe they are invincible at the National Sports Stadium,” he said.
“This is an environment which we are very familiar with and we are very comfortable when we are playing here.”
Chitembwe, who become the first person to win a championship both as a player and coach with United, is confident his team can do wonders in this competition.
“It is good to dream and like any other team we are dreaming of winning this competition. No one gave us a chance to get past TP Mazembe but here we are,” he said.
Makepekepe defender Hardlife Zvirekwi was also ecstatic with the result as he praised his teammates for the resilience they showed.
“No one gave us a chance to beat TP Mazembe but the boys did well in both matches against one of the best teams on the continent,” he said.