Eddie Chikamhi, Senior Sports Reporter
NINE games, no win and the situation is slowly getting out of hand for Harare giants CAPS United.
What started off as a promising campaign is turning into a nightmare of some sorts in the 2023 Castle Lager Premiership race.
The Green Machine suffered their ninth defeat of the season when they fell 1-0 to bitter rivals Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium last Sunday, courtesy of a first half strike by Nyasha Chintuli.
Sadly, for Makepekepe, they have lost both legs of the derby this year, with the first match having ended 2-0 in favour of DeMbare earlier in the year.
But Sunday’s feat left Makepekepe wallowing deep in the bottom half of the table. With 27 in the bag, the Green Machine are just two points away from the relegation zone going into the last 10 games of the season.
They could end up having to fight for survival for the second year on the bounce. But their coach Lloyd Chitembwe is confident the relegation talk is out of the question.
“In terms of performance, we were okay,” he said after the derby defeat.
“It wasn’t that bad, but of course at the end of the day a game of football is all about results. We understand that.
“But the good thing is that you can only build from your performances and if we can build on these performances then it gives us the reason to go out there and play the next game believing we can win it.”
Makepekepe have the longest winless run in the league at the moment. Their nine-match winless streak can only be matched by league debutants Sheasham who experienced a dull patch, beginning with the goalless draw against Bosso on May 7 and ending with a 2-1 win over FC Platinum on July 29.
Only Black Rhinos have had a worse run this season following a 12-match winless streak that claimed the job of Stanford ‘Stix’ Mutizwa earlier in the year.
In contrast CAPS United had a bright start to the 2023 campaign and were unbeaten in their opening six fixtures. At some point, they sat at the top of the PSL log standings and it all looked promising until the campaign started falling apart.
Along the way, chief executive officer Charlie Jones threw in the towel. They also beefed up their technical team by bringing on Tonderai Marume, to an already packed bench that also has Fungai Kwashi as assistant, and Nelson Matongorere in a dual capacity as assistant coach and technical advisor.
The players’ dues are reportedly upto date. But Makepekepe have won only six of their 24 games. They suffered nine defeats and managed as many draws. CAPS United players have played their hearts out in recent games but have not really done enough to walk away with the maximum points.
But the last 10 games will be crucial for Chitembwe and his men.
“I am a football coach and you know, football is just a sport. At the end of the day it’s all about being competitive and those are the things that I obviously look for in my team.
“If the team is competitive and if it continues to give me the kind of performances that I want, then we have somewhere to build on.
“Naturally, it’s disappointing but at the end of the day we all live beyond football. Of course this season we have had a very mixed season. The start was very good but later on, somewhere along the way, we derailed.
“I am sure we know our responsibility and our duty is to try and improve from there. This kind of a performance will give us the reason to go for training and work hard so that we can ultimately get the result that we can cherish,” said Chitembwe