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Date: 24 April 2019

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CAPS drama: Chunga in, Chitembwe out

[Posted 02 Sep 2010]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Chitembwe has been replaced by Moses Chunga at CAPS United

CAPS United failed to resist the temptation to fire Lloyd Chitembwe on Monday following a string of poor results which followed the loss of about six key players to various South African clubs during mid-year.

CAPS moved swiftly to replace the coach by appointing reigning coach of the year Moses Chunga as the new coach on an interim basis until his deal is confirmed permanent. 

Chitembwe is blamed for poor results, despite the clear knowledge that the void that was created by the departed players has been difficult to fill. It is easier to blend in new players during the off-season, than building new combinations in the team during mid-season.

The club and the coach insist that the split was by mutual consent, and the coach is ready to accept responsibility despite having found himself in an untenable position.  

"Its a split by mutual consent and it is related to the situation that our team finds itself in right now and, as the head coach, it is only fair that I should take responsibility," Chitembwe told the media.

"The results were not coming our way and I have the responsibility for the results on the pitch and I take full responsibility for them.

"The atmosphere was no longer conducive and it was now clear that my presence in the team was now creating unnecessary friction among a lot of people and it was starting to affect my private life.

I did my best and I have to say that I enjoyed fantastic support from the directors of the club, my players and the true CAPS United fans.

"There is nobody really to blame for where we are because we are in a process, trying to rebuild the team, and you cant cut corners in the process and it has to take its full course with the players blending.

"We have a vacuum right now since the departure of the key players to South Africa, but hopefully things will work out because CAPS United needs to be stronger and they need to keep fighting for honours, Chitembwe added.

Interestingly, CAPS club director Farai Jere fails to appreciate the impact of losing six players during the course of a season.

The team that has been playing in the league has not done well and even when the key players who left for South Africa were here, it was the same story because we won just three out of eight games while our rivals Dynamos won their first eight," Jere told the Zimbabwean media.

Jere came close to revealing the main motivation for firing Chitembwe-fans pressure. CAPS United fans have proved too powerful to allow club directors to make level-headed decisions. It is through pressure from a certain section of the fans that coaches like Chunga left the club in the past.

"Inevitably when we struggle, and Dynamos do well, there is pressure that comes from the fans because they want results, Jere revealed.


Ironically, the man that CAPS appointed as Chitembwe's replacement on Tuesday, Chunga, quit his post as CAPS' coach in 2008 for fear of his life after receiving death threats from a certain section of CAPS fans following unsatisfactory team performance during that season.


How Bambo intends to work under the intimidating atmosphere created by the hard-to-please CAPS fans who forced him out only two years ago remains unclear.


What is clear though is the fact that Chunga faces a mammoth task of restoring the fortunes of a team that has been left bereft of team spirit, cohesion and a competitive edge by the mid-term departure of key players. 


Chitembwe needs to be commended though for having seen the inevitable and agreeing to leave the club by 'mutual consent'. If his parting words are anything to go by, Chitembwe has demonstrated that he is a true professional and an unquestionable CAPS legend.


Chitembwe departed as a true gentleman of the sport. Unlike Jere whose parting shot had an accusatorial tone, Chitembwe does not blame anyone for the misfortunes that befell his short reign at CAPS.


The former CAPS and Warriors holding midfielder could as well have blamed the down-ward spirall in the performance of the team to the wholesale changes which came about as a result of the selling of six key players by the club management of which Jere is part.


Instead, Chitembwe even had the courage to thank the CAPS management that now appears to be stabbing him at the back, for what he calls "fantastic support from the directors of the club".


He also thanked his players and "true CAPS United fans" for support during good times and the recent trying times. 


It does appear that Chitembwe agreed to leave the club to avoid clashes over the decision to retain him or relieve him of his position as head coach. Apparently there was debate witbnin the CAPS family as to whether the coach should be blamed for the poor results.


CAPS has lost the opportunity to prove to all and sundry that they are as professional as they have always been hailed to be. On the contrary, CAPS have relapsed into the same murky waters  they found themselves in in 2008 when unrully fans forced Chunga out.


As Chitembwe was at pains to explain that not one person can be blamed for the club's poor run.


It is not Chitembwe who sold Nyasha Mushekwi and Khama Billiart who scored goals for CAPS, Method Mwanjali who fortified the defence, Lionel Mtizwa who provided steel in midfield, Tafadzwa Rusike and Oscar Machapa who helped create scoring opportunities for strikers. 


On the contrary the likes of Jere and Twine Phiri who smiled all the way to the bank after collecting fat cheques for selling the players to South African clubs, now seek to use Chitembwe as a scape-goat for the team's bad patch. It sounds like betrayal of a worst kind!


Jere's utterances and claims in the media, if true, pose the danger of taking away the gloss from his own professional appeal and that of the CAPS  club management.


The crisis that CAPS find themselves in needed a collective approach, where the club directors, players and fans needed enough patience to rally behind their coach to help turn around the fortunes of the club.


But alas! A scape goat had to be found. Sorry poor Chitembwe. Coaches become soft targets in such situations. You can find solace in knowing that you are not the first one  and surely you will not be the last soccer coach to be treated so unfairly.


The young coach has made it easier to return to the club in the future when things have normalised. If Chunga who fired a salvo at the CAPS supporters when he resigned in 2008 could return, there is surely nothing to suggest that Chitembwe has burned bridges with the CAPS management and supporters.


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