Three Harare derby duels between Dynamos and CAPS United inside 21 days.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
Harare will again this afternoon be treated to a derby clash when the two traditional giants collide at the National Sports Stadium to kick-start their Premier Soccer League second half campaigns.
Drawing 1-1 three weeks ago in a league match before Dynamos triumphed 1-0 seven days later in the NetOne One Wallet Cup, the matches lived up to their derby billing and another lively confrontation is expected today.
CAPS’ continued bid to break Dynamos’ five-year dominance over them will certainly light up the National Sports Stadium.
Dynamos’ bloated ego and indomitable resistance in refusing to succumb to their sworn foes will again present an afternoon of football treat.
That Dynamos are one place better than CAPS on the log is also another cause for a fierce battle.
But more pressure would be on United who are hard-pressed to avoid another humiliation and hand Dynamos bragging rights again.
A draw would be fine for DeMbare who would not be left with egg on the face in case of such an outcome.
Not only resolving outstanding traditional issues would be at stake, but the bid for the league crown would be of great significance as well.
With three straight league titles in the past seasons so far, Kalisto Pasuwa is close to equaling the generation of 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983 that successively bagged four times the ultimate prize in local football.
That has been used by Dynamos in taunting Taurai Mangwiro’s CAPS who last lifted the league title close to a decade ago now.
“Yes it is a must that we have to beat them this time around,” said Mangwiro.
“It should not be one-sided or a foregone conclusion that Dynamos should win against CAPS United. Losing in the past is not because we have been bad but it is just that they are able to grind a result even if they are not playing well.
“I have not seen much that separate us this season. It is just that we are failing to convert our chances but the fighting spirit is there in the team.”
Mangwiro wants beating Dynamos to be part of a broader second campaign that should hand them the league title.
“We are not just looking at Dynamos but launching a formidable challenge for this second half of the season. We would want to cement our position on the log.”
Captain Tapiwa Khumbuyani and David Chipala have failed to recover from injuries sustained in the last match, posing a defence headache also with the absence of suspended Stephen Makatuka.
Mangwiro’s options for the central defence are now on Malawi international George Nyirenda, Carlton Muzabwa and Dominic Mukandi who is a part-time centre back.
Striker Dominic Chungwa is back from injury and if Kelvin Bulaji is handed a run, they could have a strong attack that also boasts of Gerald Phiri.
Dynamos face their own defensive jig-saw puzzle following the departure of Partson Jaure.
Throwing new signing and top-flight league first-timer Elisha Muroiwa into the heat of the derby could be risky for coach Pasuwa whose war chest boats of Augustine Mbara who has already proved capability at centre back at national team level.
Dynamos manager Richard Chihoro has always provoked outrage from the CAPS United camp by insisting that they are not allowed to be beaten by United.
The reigning champions appear to have found a solution to their strike force in Roderick Mutuma and that is a cause for concern for CAPS United.
Mutuma was the hero seven days ago when he helped the Glamour Boys extend supremacy over United with a goal that separated the Harare giants in the quarterfinals of the NetOne One Wallet Cup.
It was Mutuma’s second goal in three matches since his return to the club and he has overshadowed his striking colleagues Patrick Khumbula, Washington Pakamisa and Simba Sithole who is yet to score this season.