EVERYTHING seem to have suddenly changed at CAPS United.
The mood, attitude, zeal.
The Premiership football club had everything resembling a giant at their training session yesterday.
The intensity and energy levels they displayed right from warm-up told a big story.
A big story of passion and focus which has been lacking in the past six weeks.
They even accommodated in their small-sided training game, Chippa United defender Ronald Pfumbidzai who is on off-season and his presence appeared to spur them even more.
And what an ideal time to recalibrate for Makepekepe with only two days before they face arch-rivals Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
This is a Green Machine side that has been hogging the limelight for the wrong reasons, always protesting and threatening to forego fixtures due to financial reasons.
And this is a Green Machine which has lost their last five matches on the bounce, allowing the leading pack to open a wide gap against them in the Castle Lager Premiership football championship race.
But Makepekepe are back to their usual mood.
And coach Lloyd Chitembwe is a happy man.
He stresses that Derby matches, himself being a veteran of many of those, are won on two elements — courage and personality.
His club is dominated by experience and personality.
Although he admits the kind of players who will battle in this Derby cannot be compared with yester-year stars, he believes they deserve due respect given the way they are trying.
“Well, mood does not win a football match. A lot has been said about these derbies but I want to believe both sets of players are prepared.
“Things are obviously changing, there is no way you can compare Moses Chunga to current players. It’s also very unfair to compare Joel Shambo to these players but I think they are trying their best.
“It’s important to focus on the game. These games are decided by two mental elements. If you go and play without courage and you play without the right kind of personality, I am sure you will obviously struggle,” said Chitembwe.
“Those two elements are very key. When I am talking of courage, I am simply talking of the players taking the initiative to want to do things. It takes bravery if you really want to play. It takes a lot of courage. When I am talking of personality, I am simply talking about the application to certain mental attitudes.
These games need attitude, these games need very cool heads, composure and the players to have the right kind of patience. They require players to have the right kind of commitment on how they apply the technical and tactical strategies. I just hope we will have plenty of these, come Sunday and they will give us the edge.”
Chitembwe is happy with the positives he has identified at the team.
“I think there is a lot of good things I have observed in these players. We have gone through a hell of a phase. You can’t really blame anyone within the football club but we tend to exaggerate some of these things but it’s normal. When your mind is not there, it’s very difficult to apply yourself in football. If you are not there spiritually, it will be difficult to make it. People don’t have to blame these boys. In any case you give the responsibilities to the coach. As the coach, I know my responsibility is to do with performance and results.
Deep down I know why we are not winning but going to this game the boys are buzzing and the guys are good to go.”
Although it is easy to write Makepekepe off the championship race, a win against DeMbare on Sunday could be the beginning of a new phase.
They are 13 points behind their rivals and will reduce that gap to 10 if they win on Sunday with 17 more matches to be played.
In terms of current form, Dynamos boss their nemesis but this is a game which form has never been a big factor.
With all their struggles, Makepekepe might resurrect in this Derby, at least if they apply themselves as much as they did in yesterday’s training session.