CHAMPIONS CAPS United will begin their domestic football season with a potentially explosive Zimbabwe National Army Charities Shield semifinal clash against arch-rivals Dynamos at the Nationals Sports Stadium this afternoon.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
CAPS United are flying high on the crest of the league success last season and currently competing in the CAF Champions League, while a rebuilding DeMbare are trying to pick themselves up after a disastrous season last year.
From a casual glance, it is a match for Makepekepe to lose, but duels between the two teams have been known to tear the form and fortune to shreds.
One thing is guaranteed – a great game of football.
“Matches between CAPS United and Dynamos have always been very close and this one is no exception. Both teams will want to show what they can do ahead of the new season, so fans should come in their numbers to witness the best of local football,” Dynamos coach, Lloyd Mutasa told Standardsport yesterday.
The two teams have an interesting history in this competition as they share one win apiece in their two clashes so far.
Lloyd Chitembwe’s men won by Dominic Mukandi’s solitary strike at the semifinal stage back in 2014 before losing in the finals to FC Platinum.
The following year, Dynamos got their revenge through the champions’ biggest signing this season, Ronald Chitiyo, who scored the winner to post a 2-1 win in the semifinal.
DeMbare went on to lose in the finals to two-time winners and current defending champions, Highlanders.
Whoever wins this afternoon will assume the lead in the ZNA Charities Shield in a head-to-head record between the city rivals.
Mutasa admitted that his opponents would have an edge in terms of fitness, having begun their season earlier because of participation on the African safari.
“Of course, in terms of match fitness, they are better than us, but we have prepared for them with all those dynamics in mind. One thing for sure, they will not have it easy because we also want to have a good start to our season,” he said.
Interestingly, CAPS United have in its ranks a number of former Dynamos players in Chitiyo, Simba Nhivi, Dominic Chungwa, Tafadzwa Rusike and Devon Chafa.
The Green Machine approach the Harare derby buoyed by their success in the CAF Champions League after progressing to the next round with a 2-1 aggregate win over Lesotho champions Lioli FC. On the other hand, Dynamos are reeling in financial dire straits and have been rather quiet during the transfer window, and thus will be looking to make a statement ahead of a new season.
A tumultuous season saw the Glamour Boys achieve their worst league finish in over a decade, in fifth place in a season they also finished empty-handed.
After losing influential players such as Warriors goalkeeper, Tatenda Mukuruva, Brett Amidu, Godknows Murwira, Stephen Alimenda, Roderick Mutuma, Sydney Linyama, among others, coach Mutasa has a difficult task of building a formidable team without a war chest.
But the presence of former soccer star of the year Denver Mukamba, Ocean Mushure, Valentine Ndaba, Masimba Mambare and Marshall Machazane gives Mutasa a start. Mushure is set to captain Dynamos in today’s match.
Gate charges for the encounter have been pegged at $3 for rest of ground, $5 for VIP and $10 for VVIP.