STRUGGLING Harare giants Caps United are expected to put aside their Castle Lager Premier League woes to gun for the rich Mbada Diamonds Cup tourney which starts tomorrow when they take on Motor Action at Trojan in Bindura.
Report by Kevin Mapasure
Caps, who had gone for nine matches without a win, finally got it right when they beat Hardbody 2-1 in a league match at the national Sports Stadium on Tuesday, but the club’s technical team feels the shackles are not completely off.
Yet they believe their problems in the league will not be allowed to dog their cup campaign — their only hope for silverware.
“This is a cup match, it’s a do-or-die; we will only play each other once and one team progresses,” said assistant coach Brenna Msiska. “We have prepared well for this game but because of the nature of such matches you never know what happens on the day. We will fight hard to make sure we go as far as the final and hopefully we can please our fans that we have disappointed for a long time now. The pressure is still there, we still need to win a few more matches for things to normalise.”
The Caps/Motor Action derby is the high profile clash of the weekend after Highlanders and Dynamos drew Blue Rangers and Quelaton, respectively.
Caps can only blame their poor form in the league for their tough first round draw in the US$2 million competition where winners will get US$100 000 in addition to US$150 000 for use in their Confederation Cup continental campaign.
Msiska conceded Caps face a tough task. “This is going to be a difficult match. Motor Action played in the final last year so that alone tells you how strong a side they are.”
Tawanda Munyanduri who has been reinvented by coach Taurai Mangwiro as a central defender, having operated at the base of the midfield for the better part of the season, said players were motivated to do well and reclaim the Caps’ Cup Kings title.
“The win on Tuesday has helped our confidence; we want to continue doing well because this is one competition we know we can really win,” said Munyanduri.
The Caps management showed its delight for their first three points in almost three months by breaking their bonus ceiling of US$300 per player, paying each player US$500 for the Hardbody win. They have since promised to lavish their players with more cash for a win tomorrow.
Dynamos are expected to cruise past Quelaton in their first round clash at Rufaro stadium on Sunday. DeMbare have the benefit of playing at home as will Highlanders who play their match at Barbourfields stadium.
Dynamos have hit top form and have been ruthless with lesser sides, yet this could present a different challenge considering what is at stake in cup games.
Highlanders’ task is no mean one considering how under Patson Ndabambi Rangers have become a transformed side.
Black Mambas v Buffaloes, Caps United v Motor Action, Hwange v Shabanie Mine, Harare City v FC Platinum, Dynamos v Quelaton, Monomotapa v Hardbody, Highlanders v Blue Rangers, Chicken Inn v Gunners.