The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
THEY say experience is a good teacher and Caps United coach, Lloyd Chitembwe seems to have gone for players who have already been through the trenches for his squad that he hopes will reclaim the title for the Green Machine.
While Caps’ rivals, Highlanders and Dynamos have opted for rejuvenation and sought youngsters in building their arsenal for this year’s Premiership campaign, Chitembwe has been snapping up veterans some of whom are in the twilight years of their careers.
Makepekepe snapped returning defender, Method Mwanjali who had moved to Tanzania only to return to the country at the beginning of the year.
The 34-year-old Hwange-born player had been turning out for Simba Sport in the East African country.
Caps welcomed former Highlanders and How Mine goalkeeper, Munyaradzi Diya (32) at the beginning of the year before taking in Milton Ncube (30) and Peter “Rio” Moyo, who is turning 30 this year after the duo found themselves in the streets following the sudden collapse of How Mine.
Defender, Dennis Dauda at 29 is a veteran of many battles and is retracing his roots back to Makepekepe after spending last season at Yadah.
Makepekepe already had captain Hardlife Zvirekwi (30), Joel Ngodzo (29), Justice Jangano (29), Cabby Kamhapa (33), Carlton Munzabwa (29) and Simba Nhivi within their ranks among veteran soccer players whose careers are nearing end.
Former Dynamos midfielder, Denver Mukamba, who was ejected at the Glamour Boys, and Ronald Chitiyo, both 25, found a welcoming home at Makepekepe and are likely to feature regularly in the green shirt.
The Green machine had also seen Oscar Machapa, turning 31 this year and Roderick Mutuma who will be 30 in June, training with the club but they did not find room in the final squad. Football commentator Muziwethu Hadebe said going for experience is an indication by Caps of their intention to lift the championship.
“It is clear they are going all out for the championship as their squad has over 20 players with PSL experience and I think this could work well for them.
“However, I think they need to improve on pace because it is something that could prove their undoing, I think coupled with the experience of Lloyd Chitembwe, Caps United have a good chance of fighting for league honours this season” he said.
Hadebe said Dynamos and Highlanders’ squads are not really green “behind the ears” as the former is a fusion of experience and new blood while some of Bosso’s youngsters featured in last year’s campaign although they were not given enough game time.
Another football analyst, Dave Simba felt Caps is digging its own grave by failing to infuse youth into its squad.
He said they should have learnt from last year’s Caf Champions League participation when the Green Machine struggled to shake off fatigue of taking part in the continental safari.
“They struggled to gel and get their campaign back on track in the local league after exiting the champions’ league campaign and that could be attributed to tired legs.
“Yes, they have experience but will the same players still be physically fit come end of season? It is a gruelling race that needs endurance. Caps may win the first 10-15 games but I believe the bodies of the veterans will give in and they won’t be able to match youngsters who might have struggled at the start of the year,” said Simba.
He said Rhinos also fell to the same problem last year when they held fort in the first half of the season but they fizzled out in the second stanza of the league.
CAPS United also registered four teenagers from Aces Youth Academy, Nicholas Guyo (19), Tatenda “Tsvaitsvai” Mandiopera (19), Kelvin Ndebele (19) and Tinotenda Chiunye (17) as part of the PSL’s youth quota although last year they did not have any junior players in their books.
CAPS United 2018 squad:
Goalkeepers: Munyaradzi Diya, Chris Mverechena, Prosper Chigumba
Defenders: Valentine Musarurwa, Zvikomborero Bizeki, Justice Jangano, Steven Makatuka, Godwin Goliath, Method Mwanjali, Carlton Munzabwa
Midfielders: Kudzai Nyamupfukudza, Dominic Mukandi, Joel Ngodzo, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Milton Ncube, Cabby Kamhapa, Praise Tonha, Ronald Chitiyo, Peter Moyo, Denver Mukamba.
Strikers: John Zhuwawu, Brian Muzondiwa, Wisdom Mutasa, Tony Fuga, Simba Nhivi.
CAPS United Under19 players: Nicholas Guyo, Tatenda Mandiopera, Kelvin Ndebele and Tinotenda Chiunye.