Tadious Manyepo, Sports Reporter
THERE is a renewed sense of optimism in the CAPS United camp.
Players have been paid their salaries for the last three months and the Green Machine have also welcomed back long-time injury casualty Rodwell Chinyengetere.
And everything is looking positive ahead of their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match against Yadah at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
Makepekepe have been rocked by a financial crisis this season and their performance on the field of play has been largely underwhelming.
They are not entirely safe from relegation and they have a practically good chance of finishing in the top-eight.
But, that is dependent on their ability to notch up key wins heading into the final seven fixtures of the season.
The Green Machine have picked two points from their last two games against Herentals and Tenax.
Coach Lloyd Chitembwe, who has refused to surrender even when it looked increasingly likely he would throw in the towel, will be hoping the rare ideal situation at the club will motivate his charges going into the game against Yadah.
The Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries side are a point and a position better than Makepekepe, who are 13th on the log with 31 points to their name.
And Chitembwe knows, the tie being a derby, will be tough although he remains optimistic of his team’s chances given the positivity his players have been displaying over the past week.
Makepekepe and Yadah were out of action last week when eight teams played in the Chibuku Super Cup quarter-finals, having been booted out in the first round of the country’s premium cup tournament.
“It’s looking good and the break was very much welcome on our side, it gave us time to regenerate and freshen up a bit and we are looking forward to the commencement of the games this week.
“Our game against Yadah is a very important fixture, there are a lot of factors at play here. It’s a local derby and the players know each other very well and there is more motivation in playing against each other,” said Chitembwe.
“It’s uncharacteristic for CAPS United to be where we are but that’s the story for this season and that’s a fact. But, I think we should go out there with a positive mind.
“The positivity that I am seeing at training gives me a feeling that we have a chance of going out there and winning the match.
“We just can’t wait for Saturday (tomorrow).”
The veteran gaffer, who has received plaudits for his ability to hold together the ship at a time the players were threatening to quit the club due to non-payment of salaries and bonuses, opened up on the reasons he never considered surrendering when the chips were down.
Chitembwe, who is CAPS United’s most decorated son both as a player and a coach, said he is never a coward to leave the team in a precarious position.
He said he is keen to help the club finish the season on a high and create a base to build on the next campaigns.
“I am motivated. I am not that kind of a person who gives in easily. It’s not easy, especially when things are not as good as they are. But, it’s very difficult for me to be seen quitting. I don’t want to disgracefully surrender during a time like this. I want to help CAPS United rise to where they belong.
“What we would like to achieve in the last games will give us an indication of what we will achieve in the seasons to come.
“These are professional players and they know what they need to do.”
Meanwhile, Chinyengetere, who has been missing in action over the past two months is back in training.
He could be thrust into action in the match against Yadah tomorrow.
The two-time Soccer Star of the Year award winner was in good form before he was grounded by the injury.
And the Makepekepe faithful will be hoping the former FC Platinum man will replicate the same form he had picked before the injury.