12 July 2018
ONCE clad in all green on a Wednesday morning, CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe is ready to put in a shift.
This is a man who speaks with conviction.
And you cannot easily rule out the 2016 Premiership winner.
“Our immediate target is to try and win each and every game. Then we have our medium target and long term targets. Long term target is obviously to be the best team. We have done that and we know what it takes to be there,” Chitembwe says.
It is natural for any good coach to devide opinion. But once you take time to listen to the CAPS boss, you realise the clarity of mind and confidence in what he does best.
The history and statistics then start to make sense.
It will be harsh to judge him based on the performance of his team so far, a group of players he has brought together to rebuild another monster.
They have managed 30 points from 18 games, 14 points behind the log leaders FC Platinum.
“Considering that we have a team that has been together for six months, that gives you belief that things are on the right track. There is a certain level of stability as far as team dynamics are concerned,” he says.
This, in many ways, is a team that will go back to the top again.
For now they have to find another Edmore Sibanda, another Ronald Pfumbidzai, a Tafadzwa Rusike, a Ronald Chitiyo, Devon Chafa, Abbas Amidu and Leonard Tsipa.
What remains are few of the stars that made it into the first XI of the title winning squad, yet Chitembwe has not lost the faith.
Recently he lost his mother, someone he described as a big inspiration in his life.
But somehow, he has managed to find his feet again and he is pushing on like the champion that he is.
“I want to attribute everything to the way I was brought up,” he says, drifting into an area few find time to talk about.
You easily admire this CAPS United great who stays calm regardless of the sensitivity of the subject.
He makes it a point that he is not afraid of competition and prefers to be the trailblazer, making level the path to greatness for his club.
Not even the big gap opened up by log leaders FC Platinum sends cold down his spine.
It takes much more than that.
“Considering that some are losing four games in a row, that tells you it is never easy in the Premiership,” he says.
What is clear is that there is a gulf between Chitembwe the player and Chitembwe the coach.
“The best way to describe myself is that I still have not lost the passion, but I have lost the aggression which I cannot show as a coach,” he says.
When CAPS United take on Bulawayo Chiefs at National Sports Stadium on Sunday, that passion comes out of his players.
This is a group of players that put in 100 percent at training and the same in game set-up, simply because the coach demands that.
“I’m happy with the squad that I have and it is an endorsement on the coach when the players do not seek to move. It is a big boost and one things that a coach can derive satisfaction from.
“We are very happy with the positive attitude that these boys have given us. I’m impressed with how these guys are taking in any learning information. That gives you confidence going forward.”
Chitembwe has shown he cannot give up easily on players and now he is optimistic about Hardlife Zvirekwi’s future.
Zvirekwi made a comeback against Harare City in a goalless draw at Rufaro.
“He (Zvirekwi) is a natural winner. Nothing has changed. He has gained more in terms of motivation. He has shown a lot of maturity.
“The fact that he is still the captain tells you the amount of belief we have in him,” Chitembwe says.