Redemption time for CAPS United

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HARARE – After the horror show against Al-Ahli Tripoli at home in the African Champions League, CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe is relaxed as he prepares for the same opponents this week.


Makepekepe were awful as they were defeated 2-4 at the National Sports Stadium earlier this month.


The Green Machine leave for Tunisia today for Wednesday’s Group B match against the Libyan side.


Tripoli play their home matches in the competition in Tunisia due to the instability in Libya following the uprising which toppled the late Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.


Despite that heavy defeat two weeks ago, which now threatens to hamper United’s progress to the knock-out stages of the competition, Chitembwe is confident they will not fall in the same trap like in the reverse fixture.


“We just want to continue working very hard. You learn in each and every match that you play. You cannot stop learning,” Chitembwe told the Daily News on Sunday.


“For me as a coach, it’s the first time that I’m coaching at this level and the same goes to my technical team and probably the players as well.


“But it’s also important to note that we are equally an ambitious side. While we are also learning, it’s always good to do it in style by getting positive results. However, we are under no pressure whatsoever.”


Makepekepe’s build-up for the first meeting with Tripoli was hampered by injuries to a number of key players, forcing Chitembwe to select a makeshift line-up.


Defender Dennis Dauda, captain Hardlife Zvirekwi, goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda, midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike and Leonard Tsipa were all struggling with different injuries.


In the end, only Zvirekwi and Rusike were able to play against the Libyans.


However, all the injured players were able to train last week ahead of the trip to Tunisia and might be part of the travelling squad. 


“They are improving which is very good. But again these are the repercussions of playing too many games; you can’t play for the whole year without resting,” Chitembwe said.


“So we are monitoring them and it’s also important not to rush them back into the field because we are going to need them for the rest of the season.


“You know not playing is something players do not like but it is important to have them for the rest of the season than losing them for the rest of the season so we really need to be careful with them.”


If Makepekepe fail to get a result against Tripoli this Wednesday, it might mean the end of their Champions League fairy tale as they will be left with only three points after four matches.


Chitembwe said their goal was to reach as far as possible in the competition and they will be not under pressure against Tripoli.


“For me, I think we have already achieved what we wanted to achieve and it’s only a matter of wanting to continue,” he said.


“Not many people gave us a chance to be where we are right now but we worked hard and against all odds here we are. We are not even under any pressure going into this one.


“We are actually happy with where we are at the moment and our hope is to just express ourselves freely.”

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