By Tafadzwa Ndiraire
CAPS United will be hoping to maximise on home advantage when they host Tsholotsho at the National Sports Stadium on Wednesday.
The Green Machine have had a good start in the campaign since Lloyd Chitembwe took over. An air of optimism has suddenly swept across the green half of the capital following their good run in the championship race where they are now in third place with 26 points in thirteen starts, one behind leaders FC Platinum who have a game in hand.
There is a strong belief among their fans now that this could be their year to reach the Promised Land for the first time since winning back to back league titles in 2004 and 2005. But that good run has seen the fans demanding more from the team especially at home where they appear to be struggling for fluency, failing to sew up games despite their dominant display in most of the matches. While’ Leonard Tsipa has weighed in with some crucial goals, Dominic Chungwa and Simba Nhivi have not really imposed themselves with goals coming from mostly the midfield and the defence.
While the Harare giants have been impressive on the road where they posted a crucial victory against Chicken Inn and picked a point in a 0-0 draw against FC Platinum, they have not been convincing at home where they have drawn against Triangle, ZPC Kariba and even seemingly winnable games like the one against Hwange.
Chitembwe was even heckled by the supporters after the team stuttered to a 1-1 draw against Hwange. And as Caps United face off Tsholotsho, expectations are high that they would right their wrongs and maximise on home advantage as the league marathon reaches the second half.
But assistant coach Tostao Kwashi believes as professionals the players will always give their all whether they are away or at home.
He said they were happy with their performance either at home or away as they were picking up some points. Kwashi, however said while their 0-0 draw against log leaders FC Platinum gave them a great lift, they still wanted a more polished performance against Tsholotsho today.
“Obvously it breeds confidence to draw against our rivals on top of the log. It was a great performance, they played well, they applied themselves tremendously and we hope to translate this into a more polished performance than we gave against FC Platinum in our next match against Tsholotsho tomorrow. We don’t subscribe to the notion that we are doing well away than at home, all I can say is that every match is different whether home or away. At the end of the day, these guys are professionals they always give 500% 0r 1000% whether playing at home or away. While we feel we have done well so far we still want to do more and we will remain humble. We haven’t won anything. We respect Tsholotsho, they are a tough team with a good coach. But we will give everything tomorrow,” said Kwashi after the team’s training session yesterday.
Tsholotsho under the guidance of Lizwe Sweswe are second from the bottom with just eight points, they have lost all their last four matches and drew just one against How Mine.