TROUBLED Caps United failed to stop a run of dreadful results after they were edged by Chicken Inn in a Castle Lager Premiership tie at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Brett Amidu decided the contest with a powerful low ground shot three minutes into the second half, sending the GameCocks back to the top of the log table after challengers Dynamos lost 1-0 to rivals Highlanders in a match which was later abandoned due to crowd trouble.
This was Caps United’s fourth successive defeat of the campaign. That this was their second defeat at home is indicative of a team in turmoil.
The Harare football giants went into the match on the back of a chaotic week in which the availability of defender Jimmy Dzingai was uncertain amid reports he had walked away from the team following a misunderstanding with one of the coaches. Team captain Ronald Chitiyo, who had been expected to return after having been pardoned following his alleged involvement in the protest that delayed their league match against Cranborne Bullets, did not report for training.
Although Dzingai later showed up at training amid reports the two parties had buried the hatchet, it forced coach Lloyd Chitembwe to field mostly youngsters with defender Tichaona Macheka and striker Diego Makurumidze being given starting roles while goalkeeper Tatenda Munditi impressive in the build-up to the match made his debut for the Green Machine. Despite Caps conceding, Munditi endeared himself with the fans after making several classy stops, the only bright spot for the home team on a disappointing afternoon.
The Harare giants though showed some hunger and determination with Rodwell Chinyengetere coming close 17 minutes into the match with a speculative shot following a set-up by Makurumidze. However, the home team survived a scare two minutes later when Malvern Hwata’s powerful header was cleared from the line by Ian Nyoni. As the visitors continued to probe the Caps defence, Brian Muza was denied twice by Munditi.
Their persistence paid off three minutes into the second half as Amidu fired home a stunning grounder profiting from a set-up by Hwata.
Caps winger Phineas Bhamusi was a thorn in the flesh for the visitors but his efforts were in vain.
“First of all, I am happy to get three points against a spirited Caps. They put up a good performance even though they had their issues. We managed our game quite well. I thought we did well defensively, we were solid at the back and the midfield. All in all I am happy. I think we need to maintain the pressure at the top of the table. Hopefully we will continue that way,” said Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas.
Caps coach Lloyd Chitembwe said: “From the results perspective, I feel for the boys, I think they gave their all but it was a day which was never meant for them to win. But it’s a situation we have to get out of ourselves, no one can do that for us so we need to dig deeper and focus on the next match,” he said.