BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO
By the time the big Harare derby pitting Caps United and Dynamos explodes at the Baobab Stadium in Mhondoro Ngezi, the Green Machine may have already been eliminated from the Chibuku Super Cup tournament.
Three points for Harare City in their match against Herentals in a mid-morning kick off tomorrow will condemn Caps out of the competition in its earliest vetting stages, something that would be a huge disappointment to the demanding Green Machine die-hards.
Not that there is much hope though as Harare City, on 13 points compared to Caps United’s 8 points, look home and dry.
One just cannot imagine Harare City failing to collect at least a point from their last two matches, at least if one is to consider their recent form.
It’s also hard for one to put their money on Caps United, putting together two wins coupled with an avalanche of goals in their last two matches, against Dynamos on Sunday and then against ZPC Kariba next week considering their form in this competition so far.
They have won once in eight attempts and since Ishamel Wadi left, goals have dried up. He scored four of Caps United’s seven goals before he moved to South Africa.
With Caps United seemingly on the ropes and Dynamos bouncing after they coasted to the quarterfinals in quick time, with three matches to spare and undefeated, the derby could well be dismissed as a dead rubber that could have little to offer.
The respective coaches have trashed any notions of a friendly derby.
Caps United are staggering and Dynamos are ready to deliver the knockout punch and condemn the Green Machine to the spectators’ stand.
DeMbare coach Tonderai Ndiraya has promised to unleash a hungry Dynamos side that will be going for the Green Machine’ throats.
Dynamos have 20 points and are targeting three more, probably to spite Caps or even to show off or maybe to make a statement ahead of the quarterfinals and the start of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
Nine games and 23 points with a no loss column, that would be some big statement.
Even though the match is being played out Mhondoro-Ngezi, Ndiraya is thinking about the Harare bragging rights.
“We are going to play a derby, and you know the nature of derbies. There are bragging rights at stake and we are going to play for our pride. Of course we have qualified to the next stage of the tournament but we are taking the game seriously. In fact, we have started preparing for the quarterfinals and we are using this match to prepare for the quarter finals. It is that mentality which we are getting into this game with, so it’s not just another game for us but a very serious one,” Ndiraya said.
He has used the last match as an occasion to give a run to those players that struggled to break into the team, but it looks like against Caps, cruelly, he will recall his big hitters.
“The team is okay, we have only two players who are injured and that’s one of our key defenders, Frank Makarati. He has been out since the game against Yadah, but he is recovering well. We expect him to start light training next week, then of course we have Takunda Mawarire, who also got injured during the same match and those are the two players that are not eligible for selection this week.”
“The players have promised to give it their all. We want to maintain our record and we want to keep winning. We have won twice in a row since our return from the break, so we want to keep doing that and this game is no exception. It is our hope that we put up a polished performance on Sunday and win that match.”
As if the problems that coach Darlington Dodo already had were not enough, he had a big headache to deal with after players boycotted training pressing for better remuneration this week. They returned to training yesterday, but Dodo lamented lost time.
“We have resumed training today (yesterday) though it’s not easy losing some days of training ahead of a derby. It makes your situation more complicated but I am happy we are now training,” Dodo said.
Despite the problems, Dodo believes the derby itself is self-motivating so much so that he hopes he will send out real fighters.
“It’s a derby and it means a lot to all of us in the Caps family. It’s a game that motivates players and I’m very hopeful that we will do well.”
“Our main area of concern is in the last three games where we haven’t been doing justice to the chances created and also we need to be very compact and solid as a team defensively to avoid conceding,” he added.
The Green Machine camp, however, faces some injuries as Simba Nhivi, Webster Tafa and Munyaradzi Karimwe are all down and out of the Baobab showdown.
Follow Magreth on Twitter @MagrethRuzvidzo