Lloyd's load... we told you so!

The Manica Post - - Sport -

EX­ACTLY just over seven months ago we di­gested on this space how some sec­tions had qualms about the squad CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitem­bwe was as­sem­bling to do duty for the 2018 sea­son.

Run­ning un­der the head­line “Bur­den­ing Lloyd with a load” and pub­lished on March 30 this year the in­stall­ment delved into how, de­spite boast­ing big names, the team looked like it would not pull its weight ow­ing to the dou­ble-bar­reled tough task fac­ing Chitem­bwe of lead­ing MaKepeKepe to a podium fin­ish while also re-pur­pos­ing the ca­reers of ‘trou­ble­some’ play­ers.

For con­ve­nience pur­poses, we re­pro­duce some ex­cerpts from that March 30 piece: “But while Chitem­bwe has a grow­ing rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing a strict dis­ci­plinar­ian whose ef­fec­tive man-man­age­ment mends stars’ way­ward ways, has he not bit­ten more than he can chew this time around? Skep­tics think this is tan­ta­mount to turn­ing the club into a re­hab hub.

Point­lessly bur­den­ing him­self with the load of try­ing to play mes­siah Lloyd has, they say. Non-be­liev­ers have not been in­spired by Chitem­bwe’s assem­bly. Qual­ity is one thing and quan­tity an­other, they reckon. Ab­solv­ing them­selves of any prej­u­dice, they are tak­ing this squad with a pinch of salt and find­ing it hard to swal­low that it will be the team to beat.”

Back then we sug­gested that ev­ery­thing be left to time so things prove them­selves right or wrong and now it ap­pears the Green Ma­chine trainer made some bad and wrong calls.

Now here we are: Den­ver Mukamba did not stay long in the green cor­ner of the cap­i­tal and re­traced his steps to Dy­namos. Wis­dom Mu­tasa has not hit the heights that were ex­pected he would. Method Mwan­jale has paled in com­par­i­son to his for­mer ster­ling self and ap­pears past his sell-by date. Steven Makatuka re­turned to the club but has never been the same player that made the 2015 Soc­cer Stars of the Year list.

This ex­pe­ri­ence in their ranks has car­ried nei­ther the day nor the sea­son for the for­mer Cup Kings. It would not be far-fetched to say that things have not gone their way this term - they may miss the Top Four and, in fact, end be­low the fifth-place fin­ish of their 2017 cam­paign.

Presently seven points off the pace in pur­suit of fourth spot, MaKepeKepe have drawn only one and lost four of their last five league games and are out of the Chibuku Su­per Cup af­ter scrap­ping through the first round and quar­ter-fi­nals of the com­pe­ti­tion. Put sim­ply, they have not im­proved but ac­tu­ally ret­ro­gressed this sea­son.

Not that we are pin­ning CAPS United’s un­der­whelm­ing sea­son on the sea­soned cam­paign­ers they con­scripted for the 2018 sea­son, but it would be fair to state that Chitem­bwe tried and failed to blow some wind into these play­ers’ sails and that of the Green Ma­chine. None among these ‘frog’ play­ers in ques­tion turned into a prince charming that cru­cially pushed their team’s cause.

In the in­ter­ven­ing pe­riod be­tween the time they won the cham­pi­onship in 2016, their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Caf Cham­pi­ons League and now, CAPS United and Chitem­bwe failed to re­place the qual­ity they lost in Ron­ald Pfumbidzai, Ron­ald Chi­tiyo, Phineas Ba­musi, Moses Muchenje, Devon Chafa, Ed­more Sibanda, Ab­bas Amidu and Do­minic Chungwa.

Stung by the team’s in­dif­fer­ent sea­son and os­ten­si­bly lost for ideas, Chitem­bwe did the unortho­dox when he wan­dered into ter­races to en­gage and con­verse with the club’s en­raged fans fol­low­ing their 1-2 re­verse to Yadah Stars re­cently. The gaffer, it ap­pears, is wilt­ing un­der the weight of the bur­den he loaded onto him­self at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son.

But by his own ad­mis­sion, the Green Ma­chine “re­ally need to change a lot of things, es­pe­cially for next year,” their tac­ti­cian Chitem­bwe was quoted as telling our sis­ter pa­per The Her­ald af­ter fall­ing to Yadah.

If it is about foot­ball that you care let’s share the cheer be­cause we are made for the game, mad about the game!

For in­ter­ac­tion send your views, com­ments and con­tri­bu­tions through feed­back on What­sApp or sms to +263 736 036 593 or e-mail:mungaz­i­mof­fat@gmail.com <mailto:mungaz­i­mof­fat@ gmail.com>

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