CAPS THE CHAMPIONS
CAPS United lifted their first league title in eleven years with a crucial 1-0 away win to Chapungu United at Ascot stadium on Saturday. It was their fifth title overall and they managed to dethrone Chicken Inn who to many were surprise winners last year.
A lot has been attributed to their professional approach in lifting the league title under the ownership of club president Farai Jere. There is no doubt however, that head coach Lloyd Chitembwe, who previously won the title as a player, assistant coach and now as the head coach, played a key role in the team’s success.
There were times when the Caps United faithful wanted him out of the club but the team’s leadership stuck with him as he not only led them to the title but remained amongst the nine coaches of the 16 clubs who started and finished the season in 2016. The others were FC Platinum’s Norman Mapeza and Elroy Akbay of Highlanders as the two teams finished second and third respectively behind the Green machine. The rest who survived the season included Sunday Chidzambwa (ZPC Kariba), Kelvin Kaindu ( How Mine), David Mandigora (Triangle), Mebelo Njekwa (Hwange), John Nyikadzino (Chapungu United) and Lizwe Sweswe of Tsholotsho Football Club. Chitembwe also revived the game of a talented midfielder Joel Ngodzo.
Veteran striker Leonard Tsipa also contributed greatly to the success with some key goals as he top scored in the league with 11 goals. His 11 goals were part of the 450 goals scored throughout the season, a drop by 52 goals from the 502 goals scored in 2015. United also scored the most goals in the season (45), with the least going to Border Strikers (10).
Caps united president Jere immediately declared that they will be taking part in the Caf champions league. “You don’t want to win the league title and not take part in the Caf champions’ League, we are already preparing and want to leave a mark in Africa”, he told Star FM radio soon after their capture of the league title in Gweru.
Runners up FC Platinum were left wondering what they need to do to win the league title. Under Mapeza they finished fourth in 2014, third in 2015 and now second on the log. In 2013 it was another fourth place finish, seventh in 2012 and finished second behind Dynamos in their first year in top flight football in 2011 under Rahman Gumbo. Mapeza could not confirm if he was staying at FC Platinum.
“You never know, you may plan and other things happen, when I came here I indicated to the executive that I wanted to build a team that will compete well in three years’ time and I think we are on the right track”.
Without spending and mainly promoting juniors and bringing in Allan Gahadzikwa in the second half of the season Akbay would feel he did a decent job in his first year at Highlanders. Their followers will however feel a lost opportunity to capture the title with their poor start in the second half of the season. They will be happy with completing a double over their rivals Dynamos for the first time since 2006.
Gumbo also finished strongly with Chicken Inn to secure a top four finish. Maybe an indication of what to expect from him in 2017. Dynamos finished outside the top two for the first time in the last seven