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Mwanjali relishes Caps United comeback

by Grace Chingoma
08 Apr 2016 at 06:42hrs | Views
SEVEN years ago, Method Mwanjali reached the pinnacle of his career when, as captain of the Warriors, he lifted the COSAFA Cup on home soil, before a capacity crowd at Rufaro, after leading his men to a 3-1 demolition of Zambia in the final.

But, since then, a lot has happened for the defender - the good, the bad and the very ugly.

From captaining Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa before being off-loaded by the club to the dark days when he was fighting charges that he was part of the Asiagate match-fixing scandal, something he vehemently denies.

Today, he is back at the club he calls home, CAPS United, and played his first game for the Green Machine, in half-a-dozen years, at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.

Introduced as a substitute, as the Green Machine closed shop in the 3-0 whipping of Chapungu, Mwanjali said he could not have dreamt of a better start in his second spell at a club he says is part of his life.

He says he is still the same defender who was the Green Machine defensive rock six years ago and supporters should expect a lot from him as he tries to guide the team to their first league title in more than a decade.

Makepekepe travel to newboys Ngezi Platinum in a match set for the new Baobab Stadium on Sunday after the ZIFA Grounds Committee and PSL officials inspected the stadium yesterday and approved it.

However, Premiership returnees Border Strikers will have to wait at least for another week before they play at home after the PSL asked them to provide an alternative venue for their clash with champions Chicken Inn on Sunday.

Mwanjali rejoined the Green Machine last year but could only make his first league appearance this season in the opening match against Chapungu when he replaced Tafadzwa Rusike in the 3-0 win over the Gweru side.

Speaking at the club's weekly Press briefing yesterday, Mwanjali said he believes nothing has changed and, although he is older, he remains the same combative defender who used to marshal the club's defence with aplomb before he joined South African Premiership side Mamelodi Sundowns in 2010.

CAPS United are seeking to end an 11-year search for the league title and the veteran player is aware of his task as the leader of the troops.

"I don't think there are any changes in me. They should expect the same Yellow they knew. I am privileged to be working with the new guys, some of the guys I have played with them before and it is quite a good combination of players," he said.

"At the end of the day it is how we understand each other and what we want to achieve as a club which matters and which should drive us.

"It was a good feeling for me, to play for CAPS again, it has been a while since I last played for CAPS United and I would like to thank the supporters and the coaches for giving me the opportunity to express myself and thanks to my teammates for supporting me."

The former Warriors skipper said they are not reading much into the weekend's game going into this match.

"So far we have been working very hard at training. It doesn't bother us that they won the first game, what matters is what we do as a team at the end of the day and we will just take each game as it comes and how we play to get a result," he said.

Mwanjali's Green Machine, in 2009, were the last CAPS United side to beat bitter rivals Dynamos in a league match after Nyasha Mushekwi struck a double at Rufaro and Oscar Machapa, effectively, sent DeMbare defender Sam Mutenheri into retirement.

That Green Machine finished in third place, on 51 points, and since then, CAPS United have beaten that tally once, in 2014, when they ended the season with 53 points in third place.

Mwanjali believes they could bring the good times back at Makepekepe.

Coach Lloyd Chitembwe said he will stick with the winning team.

"We are a team of very good quality and we just don't make changes to please people. But you make changes that suit the team," said Chitembwe.

"We are happy with the contribution of everyone in the club, those that played last week and those that did not play last week."

Ngezi assistant coach Joseph Takaringofa is also a former CAPS United player while striker Washington Pakamisa is a former CAPS United forward.

"The fact that they are a new team in the Premier League doesn't mean we will go there and play differently from the way we have always played.

"We will try and play the way we have always tried to play which is obviously trying to win the game.

"From a coaching perspective, I am sure we know half the team and we have worked with these players at some stage of their playing and coaching careers and they have also worked with us at some stage of their playing careers," said Chitembwe.

He believes his men have the potential to achieve greatness just like the teams that won the league titles in 1996, 2004 and 2005.

"I am sure we are deriving motivation from the expectation and I don't think people do expect you to do well when they don't believe in the ability that you possess as an individual.

"As a unit, as a group, I am sure we believe in our abilities and for people to expect us to do well this season I think that only gives us enough motivation to do well," said Chitembwe.

Fixtures

Today

Harare City v Mutare City Rovers (Rufaro)

Tomorrow

Bulawayo City v Tsholotsho (Barbourfields), How Mine v ZPC Kariba (Luveve), Chapungu v Hwange (Ascot), Dynamos v Triangle United (Rufaro)

Sunday

Border Strikers v Chicken Inn (TBA), Highlanders v FC Platinum (Barbourfields), Ngezi Platinum Stars v CAPS United (Baobab)

Source - the herald

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