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Caps United starts season with a loss

by Staff reporter
10 Mar 2024 at 06:21hrs | Views
CAPS United 0 - 1 Chicken Inn
JOEY ANTIPAS marked his return to the Chicken Inn dugout yesterday with a hard-fought win over CAPS United during the opening day of the 2024 Castle Lager Premiership season at Bata Stadium.

The experienced gaffer spent the last season as the club's technical director, while Prince Matore took charge of the Gamecocks. But with his protege Matore leaving the Bulawayo side at the end of last season, Antipas bounced back to the helm.

In yesterday's match, Itai Mabunu's fine header two minutes before the break made sure it was a good return for Antipas, who is now in his third stint as the head coach at Chicken Inn.

Makepekepe would have wrapped up the match in the first half had it not been for the brilliance of Chicken Inn goalkeeper Donovan Bernard, who kept the visitors in the game.

The Warriors' number one made several pin-point saves in the opening minutes.

"CAPS created very good chances but our goalkeeper managed to keep us in the match. Donovan was brilliant in the first half. Kudos to him," Antipas said after the match.

Although he said his side got off to a winning start, he admitted that they are still far from where he expects them to be.

"It is always important to start off with a win, which is what we did. CAPS are a good side but we came up with a good plan and executed it moderately well. We still have a couple of holes to plug," said the experienced tactician.

Makepekepe were the first to settle and nearly got the opener within the opening five minutes when Ralph Kawondera's close range shot was punched away by an alert Bernard.

Moments later, the goalkeeper was on guard again as he denied Kawondera's header from Ian Nyoni's brilliant cross.

The Green Machine kept on piling pressure but took turns to miss the target.

Chicken Inn would take the lead moments before the break, with Mabunu getting to the end of a George Majika inch-perfect cross.

Soon after the break, the Gamecocks nearly doubled their lead through Innocent Muchaneka, but his shot was parried to safety by an alert Ashley Rayners.

CAPS United failed to assert themselves in the second half as they played second fiddle to Chicken Inn, mainly resorting to long balls.

Despite the loss, CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe felt his side was unlucky, adding that he was encouraged by his charges' performance.

"In terms of the performance, we were up there considering that it is the start of the season.  We were unlucky, if you look at the chances we missed, it is football, you just chew and swallow," Chitembwe said.

Teams

CAPS United: A. Rayners, G. Murwira, I. Zambezi, H. Chapusha, E. Manokore, D. Chafa, R. Kawondera, I. Nyoni (L. Chiwunga 68th minute), W. Makuva, W. Manondo (J. Bakare, 86th minute), R. Chinyengetere.

Chicken Inn: D. Bernard, L. Mangaira, I. Mabunu, T. Joseph, G. Mutungamiri (B. Muza, 45th minute), I. Muchaneka (B. Rendo, 68th minute), G. Majika, (B. Mpofu, 82nd minute), X. Ndlovu, A. Chinda, M. Hwata.

Source - The Sunday Mail