IF there is one thing that has remained consistent at CAPS United in the 2023 Castle Lager Premiership season, it is only their green and white stripe!
Certainly, not the team itself on the field of play.
Not even the administrators of the club have been consistent to their word after proclaiming financial stability at the start of the season, but fast forward a few months later, rumours of discontentment among their players became common town talk.
The results have not been consistent neither, and one needs not to look further than the Castle Lager Premiership latest log table.
But, back in March, in giving praise to the eye-catching green and white stripe, CAPS United legendary figure, Alois Bunjira, on his Facebook page, wrote: “This kit is the real CAPS United. It gives hope and confidence. This is the real CAPS United kit. With the professionalism off the field, astute coach and this look, I see CAPS United challenging for league honours this season.”
Accordingly, coach, Lloyd Chitembwe’s men had a flying start to the season, winning their first three matches, including the season opener against the now high riding Manica Diamonds FC.
As they flattered to deceive, the Green Machine displayed slick football in the early stages of the 2023 campaign which ignited hopes among the club’s fans and neutrals that the championship might be up for grabs.
Alas, like a deck of cards, CAPS United went on to crumble.
Results became elusive.
And to date, if they lose their next match —against city rivals, Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday, CAPS United may as well be in the relegation dogfight.
Sadly, for CAPS United, the struggling Harare giants have not won any of their last eight matches.
Makepekepe, who have won only six of their 23 matches so far this season, have amassed 27 points, just three ahead of relegation-threatened Triangle United and Yadah, who occupy 14th and 15th positions on the table, respectively.
In an interview with Post Sport this week, Bunjira poured his heart out for a team that gave him a platform to achieve the legendary status in domestic football that he has today.
“The 2023 season seemed to be good at the start of the season. They were good vibes, with the president (Farai Jere) talking about stability. A lot of promise was oozing out of the CAPS United camp.
“When you looked at the signings and the squad that had been assembled, yes, some of them were on the wrong side of 30, but they were still delivering.
“A lot of people thought it was a strong team that could fight for the championship. I also believed that it could go all the way to the championship podium. They looked like championship contenders. For me, they looked like top five material from the beginning of the season.
“Even in the first few matches they were performing well until the wheels came off. Inconsistency started and we had rumours that financial instability had crippled in. From there on, it has not been well for CAPS United.
“They started losing matches and this is something unheard of for CAPS United to go on a four-match losing streak. It is disheartening for a CAPS United fan.
“They are now not so far from relegation. When you look at it, they are not collecting points at a crucial segment of the season. They are now two points above the relegation zone and the team can easily plunge into the relegation dogfight.
“We are back again to what happened last season. For a team like CAPS United to go for two consecutive seasons fighting relegation, it doesn’t bode well,” said the former CAPS United winger.
Bunjira, who traces his bloodline to the undulating terrain of Honde Valley in Manicaland, added: “I hope that things will turnaround. They have the players and I do not know what is their problem. There is lack of energy, the spirit doesn’t seem to be good among all the stakeholders of the club; the administrators, technical department, players and supporters.
“There is no cohesion. They are not together. It is clear. It is going to be tragic for a team like CAPS United to fight relegation again or worse still to be relegated.
“The turnover is very high in Zimbabwe where four teams are relegated and it can be any of those teams in the lower echelons of the table. It is a distinct possibility for CAPS United to be relegated. I wouldn’t want that to happen, but it is a possibility, judging by events on the ground.”
Bunjira called for a roundtable indaba and grind a solution sooner than later.
“The solution is just to sit down and discuss what the problems are. The players have to be involved and know that they are playing for themselves apart from playing for the club. It is not good for a player to be moving from one club to the other now and then.
“I don’t understand all these things happening with footballers moving from one team to another now and then. They play knowing that even if the team is relegated they just move on to another club. That lack of loyalty is not right. Wherever you play, you need to play for the badge you are putting on.
“You cannot go to a club thinking that you just want to play for one season and move on to another. No! They need to think about the future of the club they are playing for.
“So, they need to think of their careers as well as the club they are playing for. For God’s sake, they need to know that they will be remembered as the players who got CAPS United relegated or the crop of players who made CAPS United fight relegation for two consecutive seasons in a row. You don’t want that.
“This is a club that has won championships and it has been nicknamed the Cup Kings. It is something that will haunt them for the rest of their careers and life.
“They are already there at the club and they just need to give their all. This also goes to the technical department and the administrators. They need to play their part in ensuring that the environment is conducive to let the players display good football and let CAPS United get out of the situation it finds itself in at the moment,” said the CAPS United legend. – Manica Post