CAPS United defender George Nyirenda’s two own goals in as many weeks, both against FC Platinum did not only ring loud to reach the corridors of State House and drew the attention of President Robert Mugabe.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
The goals have also provided a game plan for How Mine coach Luke Masomere who arrives at Rufaro with his side this afternoon for a league meeting with the Green Machine.
Nyirenda beat his own goalkeepers Jorum Muchambo and Tafadzwa Dube respectively in the ZNA Charity Shield final 6-0 loss and Chibuku Super Cup last eight at Mandava where his goal decided the afternoon.
With Stephen Makatuka suspended due to a red card earned in their last league match against Bantu Rovers, Nyirenda is almost assured of starting today.
Despite having lost the trust of fans, he is likely to partner David Chipala in central defence.
“I am banking on Nyirenda, that dreadlocked defender,” said Masomere. “I was told that when CAPS lost 6-0, Nyirenda scored an own goal and assisted FC Platinum with three goals. He also scored for the opposition again last week. If he can score two goals for the opponents in two weeks, as well as providing assists, why can’t he score a goal for my team and give me one assist? I hope he continues to play like that and I respect him for that.”
It would take some great psyching to restore Nyirenda’s confidence against a How Mine side that has attacking prowess in Kuda Musharu and the speedy trio of Emmanuel Mandiranga, Timothy January and Edmore Muzanenhamo.
But CAPS coach Taurai Mangwiro has come out in support of his defender.
“Nyirenda should not be shunned for those goals on the wrong end,” Mangwiro said. “I do not want to judge him by that because he did so while trying to save the team. Even the top defenders in the world can score own goals.”
Their opponents How Mine would be missing injured veteran defenders George Magariro and Gilbert Banda.
January is returning from injury together with Nyasha Mukumbi.
The past two weeks have been turbulent for CAPS United and they will be seeking a turnaround in their fortunes today.
Mangwiro’s side have been looking terrible and they also failed to win their last league match against Division One-bound Bantu Rovers.
But Masomere is wary of the threat Makepekepe pose as they try to recover from the slump.
“They lost two matches in a row and it is not like they will continue losing. I know they went back to the drawing board to rectify their shortcomings. I know Mangwiro has been doing his homework,” said Masomere.
While Masomere insists that he is building a team for next season, undoubtedly he is not crafting a team for next term’s Southern Region Division One campaign.
“I am still new here and giving everyone a chance to play,” said Masomere. “Where in the world are players given chances in more than eight games? This is the time for players to showcase themselves and prove that they deserve to be in my team next season.”
After being knocked out of the Chibuku Cup by Highlanders last week, Masomere has taken charge of two losses and a win in his three-game reign so far.
As for CAPS, in the midst of a turbulent period, they have not thrown in the towel yet in their league campaign.
Sitting at fourth position and still within track of the leading pack of Dynamos, Highlanders and ZPC Kariba, Mangwiro has hopes of ending the season with the league crown they last won nearly a decade ago.
“We would want to bounce back to winning ways. Our wish is to stay closer to the leading teams and it is good that the leading pack is still within touching distance. We have to win our remaining matches for us to win the league title although we do not want to talk much about it at this stage,” said Mangwiro.
Making CAPS’ task difficult is the fact that they face a team that is staring relegation and eager to stay safe.