CAPS United coach, Lloyd Chitembwe, has said that CAPS United are ready for their CAF Champions League second group stage encounter against USM Alger at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Wednesday afternoon.
CAPS United meet the Algerian side at home in their second group B fixture carrying a 2-0 deficit after their loss to Zamalek in Egypt two weeks ago. USM Alger come into the match with a 3-0 win over Al Ahly Tripoli.
Addressing members of the media at a joint CAF press conference in Harare this afternoon, Chitembwe said CAPS United are going to invest their energy in concentration and determination to get the desired result.
“. . . we’ll try and give it our best shot. I’m sure this is one game we are going to try and play with a lot of concentration, it’s one game that we’ll try and play with a lot of determination. It is one game I can assure you [that] we’ll try and play with a lot of flair as well as joy. Because this is how we want to approach this game. And it’s never going to be easy, we know games of this magnitude, games at this level of this competition are never easy, but we are in this competition to face this kind of challenges and I’m sure we are ready and very excited to be in this kind of situation,” he said.
“I think certainly it’s one of the most important games for us as a football club. I think it’s one of the biggest matches of this football club so we are looking forward to it. We know it’s never going to be easy because we are playing one of the most difficult opponents in this competition.”
Chitembwe said United have learned their lessons from the Zamalek away defeat but are now going to focus on team performance to get the desired result at home.
“. . . in football you keep learning every day. Even our training sessions, it’s (sic) a continuous learning process. We have learned lessons in (sic) that game. We keep learning lessons as we trudge in African football but at the end of the day I’m sure it’s more important to focus on what you can do as a team rather than focus on what the opponents can do to you.
“So from that perspective, I’m sure we are ready to focus on what we have control over which is our performance, which is our game and determination,” he said.
Chitembwe refused to be drawn into whether CAPS United or their opponents are favourites in the match whose result will likely be key and decisive for the hosts as far as progressing to the next round is concerned.
“Like I said it’s going to be a very, very difficult game. We do have respect for [USM] Alger and I think they have achieved more than we have achieved in this competition. We are only a young team [but] very, very committed, very, very determined [and] very happy with our past achievements especially in this competition.
“But all the same we still want to continue and I hope tomorrow’s game will present us with that platform to want to continue in this competition, but one thing for certain is [that] it’s never going to be easy,” he said.
CAPS United will be without veteran striker, Leonard Tsipa, who was also absent during their first group B match against Zamalek. Tsipa is recovering from a knee injury despite having started training. Midfielder, Tafadzwa Rusike, will also be an absentee in the match tomorrow due to a knee injury.
“For Leonard [Tsipa] I think he’s at 60% fit, he’s not 100% and for Tafadzwa [Rusike] I think he’s 80% to 100% fit. So that’s the state of affairs, but all the same, it’s important to look at what we have and what is it that we have? We have a team that can compete on the day and whoever is given an opportunity to go out there and play I’m sure he’ll do what we expect from him, so I think it’s not a problem,” he said.