DYNAMOS captain Stephen Alimenda has warned championship-chasing CAPS United not to expect any favours this afternoon when the two archrivals clash in the final Harare derby installment of the season at the National Sports Stadium.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Flashback to 2014 when the Glamour Boys won their last league title. Then, CAPS United denied log leaders ZPC Kariba the title when they beat them 3-2 on the final day, allowing the Glamour Boys to take the crown on the wire.
Twelve months earlier, CAPS had cruelly ended Harare City’s title hopes as they led going into the last day of the competition.
The Green Machine held the “City Fathers” to a two-all draw as DeMbare ghosted in for the title on the last day.
But Alimenda emphatically dismissed the notion that both the incidences were favours.
“Did they beat ZPC Kariba for us in 2014?” he scoffed.
“I think they were fighting for their own cause and we were fighting for our own battle so we don’t owe them a favour. Imagine if they had beaten ZPC Kariba and we had failed to win our last game; we would not have been crowned champions,” the veteran defensive link-man said.
“Every team in the league is fighting for itself so we are fighting for Dynamos only. We are taking it [the CAPS United match] as every other match that we have played this season, although we know it’s a derby match,” he added.
Alimenda, in fact, hinted on a revenge mission this afternoon after they lost in the reverse fixture as the Lloyd Chitembwe-coached CAPS United finally won a league derby after seven years of trying.
“Everybody obviously knows that we lost to CAPS United in the reverse fixture, so we definitely need to improve and work on the mistakes we made. That’s what we have been working on this week,” he said.
CAPS United, who are chasing a first league title in 11 years are top of the log and are desperate for maximum points with four matches to go.
While the focus now is on the march towards the league title, a win today for the former Cup Kings will see them complete a double over Dynamos for the first time since 2004 when they won the league.
Captain Moses Muchenje downplayed the derby, opting to focus on the broader league homestretch.
“Every match we have played is important and all the games we are going to play are important, including this one against Dynamos and we don’t want to drop any points. We moved to the top of the log at a crucial stage which requires a lot of concentration and unity and sure we will smile at the end of the season,” he said.
Muchenje added: “I want to urge fans to come in their numbers. We promise to do what we have been doing throughout the year and they are going to be happy after the match on Sunday [today].”
With the league’s top scorer as well as exciting winger Phineas Bamusi suspended, Chitembwe will have to make some changes in the team that will play Dynamos.
Former Dynamos star midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike is eager to start for the Green Machine after making an impressive cameo last week away to Border Strikers.
Another former Dynamos player Simba Nhivi is likely going to be thrust into the thick of action as a replacement for Tsipa.
As for Lloyd Mutasa’s Dynamos, they have failed to have consistent performers in this forgettable season and the odds are heavily staked against them.
However, this is the fixture in which the likes of Denver Mukamba, Roderick Mutuma, Alimenda, Masimba Mambare and Ocean Mushure are expected to rise to the occasion.
Yesterday’s Results: FC Platinum 1-1 Ngezi Platinum, Chicken Inn 2-0 ZPC Kariba, Tsholotsho 2-1 Chapungu, Mutare City Rovers 3-0 Border Strikers
Today’s Fixtures: Highlanders v Bulawayo City (Babourfields), CAPS United v Dynamos (National Sports Stadium), Triangle v How Mine (Gibbo), Hwange v Harare City (Colliery)