CAPS United’s uneven form this season has left them well and truly in the relegation dogfight, and their last six fixtures mean they face an uncomfortable run-in and the real possibility of going down for the first time in their history.
The Green Machine slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Yadah at the weekend bringing their winless streak to four matches from the last five games.
Although they remain six points above the drop zone, with 31 points after 28 matches, there are genuine fears that further defeats in the remaining matches could leave one of the country’s Big Three in the throes of relegation.
The Green Machine host a vastly-improved Triangle side looking to do a double over them, after winning the earlier meeting in the season 2-1.
The Sugar Boys have only lost once in their last five games.
The Green Machine will then travel to Rusape to face Cranborne Bullets to whom they lost 2-0 in the first half of the season.
While Cranborne Bullets are feeling safe on 12th position on the log, they will be eager to improve their ranking at the end of the campaign. They have suffered just one defeat in the past five matches.
After the Cranborne match, the champions-in-waiting and winning machine that is FC Platinum roll into town, likely to confirm their coronation if all goes according to script.
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It does not get any easier, with title contenders Chicken Inn in the penultimate game before hosting Bulawayo Chiefs. They round off the season with a clash against city rivals, Dynamos, who thrashed them 3-0 earlier in the campaign.
Bulawayo City, who are 16th and in the relegation mire, face Chicken Inn at home in their next game followed by Bulawayo Chiefs (away), Dynamos (home), Harare City (home) and Black Rhinos (away).
Harare City, the team occupying the relegation cut-off point with 25 points face off against Black Rhinos (home), Ngezi Platinum (home), Manica Diamonds (away), WhaWha (home), Highlanders (home).
Should Harare City win at least three of their upcoming fixtures and Caps United lose the remaining matches, the Green Machine will kiss good-bye to topflight football.
But Caps coach Lloyd Chitembwe remains upbeat.
“The issue of relegation is not for us. It is for others. We are not in the relegation matrix,” Chitembwe told NewsDay Sport recently.
Club president Farai Jere echoed similar sentiments, saying the team will get the six points to claim safety.
“We are already done for this season and are looking to the future. There is no team that can be relegated with 36 points and you can’t tell me they can’t win two matches from the remaining matches,” he declared.
The Green Machine’s season has been marred by financial issues which saw some players leaving the club after leading a strike. The club hierarchy, though, has managed to pay the players some of their outstanding salaries.
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