CAPS United assistant coach Fungai “Tostao” Kwashi has described their clash against Zamalek in a CAF Champions League Group B match at the National Sports Stadium today as their biggest game of the year as the Harare giants look to revive their fading hopes of progressing to the quarterfinals.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Following back to back 4-2 loses to Libyan side Al Ahli Tripoli in their last two Group B matches CAPS United need nothing short of a victory today to revive their chances of reaching the last eight of the continent’s premier club competition.
The Zimbabwe champions sit bottom of Group B with only three points after four matches in the group, five points behind USM Algiers and Al Ahli Tripoli while Zamalek is third with five points.
“It’s the biggest game of the year, it’s a very important game for the football club, and we know whats at stake,” Kwashi told reporters at a pre-match press conference yesterday.
“There are two games left and six points at stake so everybody has a job to do which is to fight hard for the badge and for all Zimbabweans, local and abroad. We are positive and we want to give it our all and I know the boys will throw everything tomorrow and with God’s grace and guidance I am sure the Makepekepe flag will be flying high tomorrow,” he said.
The Zimbabwe champions endured a tumultuous week as the club’s leadership battled to avert a player revolt over unpaid salaries.
The fallout between the club and the club’s leadership resulted in the departure of vice-captain Dennis Dauda for Yadah FC in the wake of a shock 2-0 defeat to the same team in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League on Tuesday.
Dauda had been transfer-listed for comments he made on social media before the defeat at Morris Depot.
Kwashi, however, feels that they have moved on from the problems that rocked their camp and they will be able to overcome the departure of Dauda.
“In football things happen very quickly and what happened during the week is already water under the bridge, we are already looking ahead not only for tomorrow.
“Whoever gets the chance to come in for the guy who is no longer there (Dauda) should be able to take the opportunity and rise because remember the club had registered 30 players.
“We are not going to use it as an excuse that we were missing one player, teams win championships and titles not individuals. At the end of the day it’s all about team work,” said Kwashi.
Having cried foul over injuries to a number of their top players in recent weeks CAPS United go into today’s match with what appears to be a clean bill of health with the exception of big goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda and Leonard Tsipa who are still sidelined by injuries.
Meanwhile, the Zamalek technical team snubbed yesterday’s mandatory pre-match press briefing in protest over the presence of a journalist from the Qatari-based sports channel beIN.
Last month the Egyptian government announced that it was severing diplomatic relations with Qatar for its alleged links with terrorist groups and individuals, and allying with regional foe Iran.