LLOYD Chitembwe yesterday described his team as the greatest CAPS United side ever after they rewrote the history books in style by eliminating continental heavyweights TP Mazembe and progressing to the group stages of the CAF Champions League for the first time in their history.
For a side that had not been given a chance when the draw was conducted, Makepekepe accomplished a giant-killing act with a display rich in spirit in a goalless draw at the National Sports Stadium.
Abbas Amidu’s goal in the reverse leg, which ended 1-1 in the Democratic Republic of Congo last week, counted the most as it became crucial in dumping the five-time champions from the competition.
The wild celebrations as players, supporters and club officials came together summed up the significance of this feat at the end of the day.
“Absolutely (this is the best CAPS United team). Results are there to prove that. There is no other CAPS United team that has matched or got anywhere near what these boys have achieved and so I think they deserve to be the greatest CAPS United team ever,” said Chitembwe.
“At the end of the day the players deserve special mention. They worked hard in training and the spirit within the group is out of this world. I just want to attribute our success to the spirit within the group.
“Everyone in the set-up works very hard towards achieving such kind of success. So I am very proud to be one of the organs within the CAPS United set-up.”
There was some style to CAPS United yesterday.
The Harare giants gave their players royal treatment by flying them in two helicopters to the giant stadium where they received to a raucous welcome from their fans who turned out in numbers despite the hike in gate charges to $5 for the cheapest ticket.
The huge number of supporters managed to dwarf TP Mazembe’s boisterous brass band that played on until the 90th minute.
CAPS United defied the logic and stood toe-to-toe with their established opponents.
Goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda was up to the task with some crucial saves and with a bit of luck, he could have scored a brilliant goal past his opposite number Sylvain Gbohouo who did well to turn the ball around the post from one of his trademark free-kicks, with the ball hit with both power and precision.
Makepekepe were a unit as they defended their territory with determination.
Moses Muchenje and Devon Chafa went about their duties with grit in midfield where they gave TP Mazembe skipper Rainford Kalaba and Miche Mika little room to make any destructive moves that usually give the Congolese giants the edge.
The Ravens wanted a goal in the first half to unsettle the home team but they could not breach the Makepekepe defence.
But as time ticked on the pressure was building in the TP Mazembe camp and their coach Thierry Froger made three substitutions in the second half by bringing in attack-minded players Given Singuluma, Deo Kanda and Misheck Elia but they still could not breach the CAPS defence.
Referee Bernard Camille of the Seychelles, who had been fingered in an intricate plot to help TP Mazembe qualify, was also under pressure to deliver a flawless display.
And, he did just that, refusing to be bullied by the visitors who are used to getting decisions in their favour. Herald