HARARE – CAPS UNITED will not be taking anything for granted when they face Libyan side Al-Ahli Tripoli this afternoon in the African Champions League.
The Green Machine host the Libyans at the National Sports Stadium fully aware a win will put them in a good position to qualify from Group B to the knock-out stages of the competition.
In their first game last month, Makepekepe went down 2-0 away to Egyptian giants Zamalek before getting their campaign back on track with a 2-1 win over USM Alger (USMA).
Zamalek currently lead the group with four points, Makepekepe are second with three points, USMA are third with three points. Ahli are bottom with only a single point.
Although they will be overwhelming favourites to beat Ahli today, United assistant coach Tostao Kwashi said they will not be throwing caution to the wind.
“Ahli Tripoli are a good side. They might have lost their first game of the campaign but last week they pulled off a good result against Zamalek,” Kwashi said.
“So they are a team which should not be underrated, we give them respect just like the other 16 teams in the Champions League.
“There are no easy games in the Champions League; all matches are tough as you know we will be facing champions in their respective leagues.
“So we know tomorrow (today) it’s going to be another fierce battle and we are looking forward to it and we are up for it.”
With CAPS United battling a series of injuries to key players, Kwashi challenged those who will be picked to rise to the occasion.
The Makepekepe camp resembles a hospital ward with their first choice goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda battling an injury and has not trained with the rest of the team for the better part of the week while his deputy Jorum Muchambo is also reportedly not well.
If the two fail to pass a late fitness test this will complicate things for Lloyd Chitembwe as he will only be left with third choice Prosper Chigumba as the only available goalkeeper for the match.
Skipper Hardlife Zvirekwi has only trained for the past two days and is still a major doubt for today’s game.
Veteran striker Leonard Tsipa is also still struggling for fitness while defender Dennis Dauda apart from being suspended for today’s game for picking up two yellow cards, is also battling an injury and has not trained this week.
“We might have setbacks but like they say, a setback is a platform to make a comeback,” said Kwashi.
“This is an opportunity for someone else to shine and whoever gets that shirt in place of the injured players should come to the party for the team.
“For now I can’t really give you the names of those who are out because we are still monitoring the situation but we will have a clear picture by tomorrow (today) morning.”
With Makepekepe battling on two fronts, Kwashi is confident their small squad will be able to cope with the demands.
“It’s a challenge and yes it’s tough trying to juggle between Champions League and Premier League but we are embracing the challenge,” the former Makepekepe forward said.
“We have one of the best coaches in the world in Lloyd Chitembwe, he has been there, he has done it and his guidance is helping us a lot.
“We are enjoying the situation we are in right now. We would rather prioritise Champions League and get more workloads. That’s how we can grow when we play in these competitions.”