CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe has ruled out his side being dragged into the relegation dogfight after finally going through a normal training week ahead of their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League clash with Tenax tomorrow.
The Green Machine was troubled by training boycotts as players demanded their outstanding salaries and bonuses, and in the process the team dropped five points in two matches which has seen their name often mentioned in relegation dialogue.
But despite sitting just six points above the drop zone, Chitembwe has declared that they will not be involved in any relegation scrap.
“The issue of relegation is not for us. It is for others. We are not in the relegation matrix,” Chitembwe told NewsDay Sport.
His boss Farai Jere, who attended yesterday’s training session, echoed the same sentiments, adding that his team only needed six points to swim to safety.
“We are already done for this season and are looking to the future. The players bonuses are all paid up. What is outstanding are salaries which we are working on. Our situation is well known, we have said we have financial challenges, but we are working to fix the problem. We are good to go, you can see the boys have been training throughout the week. There is no team that can be relegated with 36 points and you can’t tell me they can’t win two matches from the remaining matches,” he declared.
The Green Machine’s season has been marred by financial issues which saw some players leaving the club after leading a strike.
They went on a seven-match losing streak which raised fears that the popular club was sinking into oblivion.
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Astute transfer business saw them reinvent themselves and they went on a six-match unbeaten run which helped them move up the table.
They face one of the sides that took away three points off their table and will be seeking revenge tomorrow.
Chitembwe is pleased with the preparations that they have had gong into this match.
“We have entered a critical stage where we have to fight for the three points. That is our focus, it’s not about what happened in Mutare, it’s about what we have to achieve. This is a new game altogether. Our preparations for this match have been very good. We have had credible and better preparations than in the last two weeks where we trained for just two days out of 10 days,” Chitembwe said.
The Harare football giants are hoping to avenge the 2-1 defeat they suffered in Mutare earlier in the season against the Premiership new boys.
After the defeat in Mutare, Chitembwe’s men will be looking to maximise on home advantage. They will be banking on prolific goalscorer William Manondo to take the team out of the relegation matrix.
Tenax meanwhile, will be hoping for another miracle to ease their relegation worries. They are second from the bottom with 21 points. They have drawn once and lost four in the past five matches, suggesting that they are sure candidates for relegation.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures
Today: Bulawayo City v Cranborne Bullets (Barbourfields), Harare City v ZPC Kariba (National Sports Stadium), Whawha v FC Platinum (Ascot), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Bulawayo Chiefs (Baobab)
Tomorrow: Black Rhinos v Dynamos (Vengere), Highlanders v Triangle (Barbourfields), Caps United v Tenax (National Sports Stadium)
Tuesday: Manica Diamonds v Chicken Inn (Vengere)
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