CAPS United's Chitembwe seeks reprieve in Chibuku Super Cup
CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe will be hoping for a reprieve with victory over Harare City in the Chibuku Super Cup semi-finals after coming under scrutiny from fans following a prolonged run of poor league form.
Chitembwe's men have lost their bearings in recent weeks, and the 2-1 defeat to Yadah on Wednesday was the team's fourth in their last five matches, prompting some supporters to voice their displeasure.
For a change, the mood is decidedly different at cross-town rivals Dynamos, who take on Triangle in the other semi-final on the back of a three-match winning streak which has boosted their chances of avoiding relegation.
CAPS are without a win in six league matches, and the clash on Saturday provides Chitembwe with an opportunity to placate fans, some of whom are beginning to doubt his effectiveness on the job.
Any failure to reach the Chibuku Cup final could plunge the CAPS camps into turmoil, and Chitembwe will hope his strikers come to the party after letting the collective down with a return of only four goals in eight matches in all competitions.
CAPS needed penalties to get past ZPC Kariba and Chapungu in the Chibuku Cup first round and quarter-finals respectively, with both matches ending goalless.
However, City coach Mark Harrison is wary of a backlash against one of the league's traditional giants who, in their heyday, were better known as the 'Cup Kings'.
"They are a big team and there is a lot of expectations around CAPS United, obviously," Harrison told KweséESPN.
"I guess they have had a disappointing league season, so they will be looking to the Chibuku Cup as a season-saving tournament.
"We expect it to be a serious game, and we are going to have to be 100% to get a result on our own," he continued. "I expect a very tough game on Saturday."
Harrison welcomes back defensive linkman Learnmore Muyambo, who missed the 2-2 draw against Ngezi Platinum Stars on Wednesday, but it is the improving form of teenager Tatenda Tumba which the Englishman seems most excited about.
"Tumba got injured in the middle of the season and then he was out of the team for a few weeks," Harrison maintained. "He has got himself back to fitness now and he seems to be hitting good form at right time.
"He scored two goals in two games now and hopefully his form continues."
The exciting 19-year old first provided an assist in the 1-1 draw against Black Rhinos before getting the only goal as City edged Shabanie 1-0 at Mandava.
He scored City's second goal in the Ngezi draw, and could pose the greatest threat to the CAPS defence.
Meanwhile, Triangle coach Taurai Mangwiro insists that his men will be fired up to dump Dynamos out of the Chibuku Cup in Sunday's second semi-final.
Triangle have punched above their weight in the league and now look well placed for a top-four finish.
Mangwiro, a former Dynamos player himself, is determined to go all the way in the Chibuku Cup as well.
"We will just treat it like any other game, but I don't think it's the Dynamos of old," he told KweséESPN.
"What we currently see is a team that is beatable, and all we need to do is to be positive and believe that we can do it.
"We managed to beat Dynamos 3-0 in the league, and when I look at it, It's the same personnel," he concluded. "We need to look at them as a team that is beatable."
Dynamos have won their last three matches in the league, with in-form attacker Valentine Kadonzvo weighing in with three goals. However, coach Lloyd Chigove will surely need his other forwards to up their output if they are to overcome a determined Triangle.