CAPS United president Farai Jere told media Monday afternoon that club coach Lloyd Chitembwe’s absentia from club matches and training was because he was down with “a serious flu” and did not want to risk infecting the team.
Amid allegations of infighting within the Makepekepe camp, Jere addressed a hastily arranged press conference in a bid to inform club supporters that CAPS remained United.
Flanked by Chitembwe and club vice president Nhamo Tutisani who are said to be at loggerheads, Jere insisted that the said acrimonious relationship between the two was fake news.
“We have seen there was a lot of speculation on social media and you know the power of media. Anything that comes out of social media people take it as correct information,” Jere said.
“The coach was not feeling well. I think you are quite aware of the serious bug that has been going around. You know this flue. Even at our work places people can be away for a long time.”
He continued: “With football you don’t want to mix with your players because you can infect the entire squad. And this guy (Chitembwe) is a seasoned coach and he knows about these things. Otherwise we could have gone to Kariba without a team but he is back at work. You will see him at training tomorrow.”
Asked by the media if he was indeed out with a flu and if he was now back to full fitness.
Speaking with a seemingly choreographed hoarse voice Chitembwe said:
“I am better now” dismissing allegations of a tiff between him and Tutisani adding the speculation could have been fueled by a breakdown in communication between the team and the media.
He spoke after he skipped training ahead of their clash against ZPC Kariba at Nyamhunga stadium where they went on to lose 1-0 with club fans taking aim at Tutisani for frustrating Chitembwe.
“Tutisani usaite fun fun nevanhu (Tutisani don’t take us for a ride),” they chanted before blocking assistant coach Nelson Matongorere from giving his post match thoughts to the media.
Chitembwe missed United’s previous match against TelOne after allegedly clashing with the head of medical team Nicholas Mushonga as well as the club’s vice president Tutisani.
Chitembwe was also said to have clashed with Munyonga over the selection of Method Mwanjali with Munyonga arguing that the veteran defender was not fit to play while Chitembwe insisted on playing him.
However, club president Jere on Monday put on a brave face and insisted there were no fissures within the club.
“Mr Tutisani is not only a director or a worker at CAPS but he is a shareholder. Why would he sabotage his own investment,” Jere asked rhetorically.
Tutisani weighed in adding that Chitembwe was an important piece of the United puzzle and as a shareholder and “builder” he was geared to giving his coach the best resources possible in the team’s bid to lift the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title.