HARARE - While ardent followers of the English premiership were busy monitoring activities on the final day of transfers, here, CAPS United were making changes to their technical team.
Under-fire coach — Mark Mathe — who had been the subject of fierce ridicule from the club’s faithful was yesterday demoted to assistant coach, paving way for Lloyd Chitembwe who returned to the club as head of its coaching department.
A favourite of the CAPS United supporters during his playing days but also an easy target for criticism when he was the team’s coach — Chitembwe will lead the Green Machine until the end of the season on a performance-based contract.
This is the third spell at CAPS United by the hugely gifted but temperamental coach whose hardline stance has often resulted in fall-outs with players opposed to his philosophy.
Yesterday, the former Warriors midfielder admitted he had a huge task of restoring flair and results at the Harare side.
“I have to be able to live with that. I am under pressure, of course, but I know this and I accept this challenge without fear and that is why I am the coach,” Chitembwe said after his unveiling.
“It feels good to be back at CAPS. There is always pressure in football. I think I have gone through it during my playing days and as coach as well. So I hope we will manage it. Let me say, it’s not about Chitembwe but it’s about the team. It’s all about CAPS United.”
Chitembwe, one of the most decorated Makepekepe players of all time, takes over from Mathe who had been in an acting capacity.
After failing the grade, Mathe reverts to his previous position of assistant coach while Brenna Msiska has been retained as goalkeepers’ coach and, just like Chitembwe; all are on performance-based contracts.
The reshuffle, which was announced at a press conference yesterday morning, will also see Fungai Kwashi, who was one of the senior team’s coaches, taking charge of the juniors.
The new Green Machine technical setup was immediately given a target to finish in the top four, failure of which will see all of them losing their jobs at the end of the season.
And Chitembwe, who is making a return to the Green Machine, a club he served with distinction as a player, said he was ready for the challenge to guide the team, despite admitting to being a little apprehensive.
His immediate task would be to bring back confidence to the team which has inexplicably stuttered despite making commendable additions during the local transfer window.
The team has been lacking flair and goals — leading to serious concerns that Mathe could have been sabotaged.
Since Mathe took over the reins from Mark Harrison in June, Makepekepe have struggled for flair and consistency, winning only twice from the eight matches he was in charge.
The Green Machine were dumped out of the Chibuku Super Cup and have choked in the title race, leaving the only realistic chance of a top-four finish.
CAPS United currently lie seventh with 30 points from 21 matches and trail log leaders Chicken Inn by 13 points.
On the appointment of Chitembwe, CAPS United board chairman Lewis Uriri emphasised that the technical team was mandated to deliver good results.
“We are CAPS United, we are not CAPS Rovers. We are not CAPS FC, we are a united outfit. And we believe in continuity and we have a very well-articulated three-year strategic plan that we believe will bring results to the CAPS United family,” Uriri said.
“And as a united family that believes in continuity, that believes in results, we are moving forward with that. I must state at the very onset that CAPS United have not been playing badly.
“When you look at all things, I think we are one of the best outfits on the local scene and playing some best football even if the results have not come our way,” the respected lawyer said.
“Administratively, I think we have one of the most qualified and experienced boards in the local Premiership if not in the sub-region. Only that results have not been coming our way and what we would want to do is to thrive and get the results.
“And as I said, we have not been doing badly, perhaps we have been unlucky but we have carefully considered where we have come from and where we are going and we have come to the decision that for the next nine games the technical team will continue but with one change.”