23 April 2012

Zimbabwe: CAPS Reassign Connor

CAPS United will re-assign Sean Connor to the ceremonial position of technical director with Lloyd Chitembwe being handed full charge of first team affairs once again. The Green Machine's flirtation with Northern lrishman, Connor, as head coach has backfired spectacularly.

CAPS United are yet to win on the field in three games after two draws and a home defeat to Chicken lnn.

The club's management is set to concede today that they made a monumental error of judgment to hand Connor full charge of the team given his lack of experience with football in Africa.

Sources within the club have revealed that the CAPS United leaders now agree that Connor should have spent more time learning about the club and its players before being given the responsibility to coach the team.

It will be a major climbdown on the part of the CAPS United leadership but it's a gamble they now believe is worth taking.

The CAPS United players are set to be advised of the technical changes when they report for training today.

Connor arrived at CAPS United this year on a three-year deal renewable every year depending on success.

But he has got off to a bumpy start with his team struggling to fire on the field.

Interestingly, the Green Machine has collapsed in the second half in their loss to Chicken lnn and their draw against Harare City.

While Connor prefers light work outs at training sessions, which have made him popular with players who hurt tough exercises, Makepekepe have paid a huge price for that by fading in the second half.

In contrast Chitembwe favours hard work and is a strict disciplinarian.

Critics to the decision to hire Connor have questioned the need for changes made in the technical team after CAPS United finished strongly last season.

"There will be a major climbdown by the CAPS leaders on Monday where they will concede that Chitembwe should have been left in charge of first team duties," said the sources.

"Two points out of nine on the field is not a happy return and at a team like CAPS, pressure builds up.

"The strike force isn't firing, with no goals in three games, but Sean has stuck with the same forwards who started against Shabanie even when it's clear it's not working.

"'There is also concern that players like Marvel Samaneka have been frozen out of the system even when it's not working. Lodza will be asked to try and find a quick solution because the team has been flat. Sean is a good guy and hugely popular but there is a feeling he needs time to learn about the challenges of African football and at a team like CAPS, time is not always on your side."

Evans Gwekwerere had largely been expected to start against Harare City on Saturday but Connor stuck with Washington Pakamisa and Clive Kawinga.

Some CAPS fans have been using the social media forums to suggest that Chitembwe has been working against the interests of the team and is to blame for the Northern Irishman's bumpy start.

But the club's leaders say Connor has had absolute authority in team preparation, selection and substitutions and is answerable to the poor start.

"In Europe the training is normally for an hour at most but it doesn't work here because the attitude towards work by the players here is different to that of the professionals in Europe," said the sources.

"Here, most of the workers party hard and need to train hard to last the distance. If you look at this current CAPS team you can see they were running out of steam in the second half."

Chitembwe was in charge of the pre-season camp and beat Mamelodi Sundowns during a tour of South Africa.

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