THE big Harare Derby Part II comes to Rufaro Stadium this afternoon, but with a far much different background from those of the recent past.
insidesport with MICHAEL KARIATI
For the first time since 2011, Dynamos and caps United are meeting in the second instalment of big Harare Derby when both teams are already out of the Premier soccer League championship race.
Usually, during this time of the season, either CAPS United or Dynamos would be fighting for the league championship, but that is not the case this time around as both are in depths of despair and are struggling to come to grips with competition in the Premiership.
DeMbare are facing relegation in an unfamiliar 15th position on the log standings, with only 31 points from 28 games, and would be happy with a top-10 finish as a top-four placing at the end of the season is already out of their reach.
Their 11 losses outweigh their seven wins, but, more importantly is the fact that the Glamour Boys — once known for their attacking prowess — have scored less goals than they have conceded, managing only 20 against the 30 that have gone past their goalkeeper.
CAPS United too cannot be said to be doing well. Although they are in fifth place, the Green Machine are 21 points behind leaders FC Platinum and have been the one of the most inconsistent teams in the Premiership.
Although the Green Machine can pride themselves in the fact that they have lost only six times in 28 games, it is the matches they have drawn — 11 in total — which have been their biggest letdown.
Interestingly, it’s the first time in five years that Dynamos and CAPS United are meeting in the big Harare derby when neither team is still in the championship race.
Last year when the two teams clashed in the big Harare Derby part II, Dynamos were firmly in the race for the championship before coming second to FC Platinum.
In 2016, CAPS United were at the top of the table before going on to clinch the title while in 2015, Dynamos were neck-to-neck with Chicken Inn before the Glamour Boys lost out by four points.
In 2014, Dynamos were second on the table behind ZPC Kariba when derby time came and went on to win the league title by overtaking the then league newcomers on the final day. This was thanks to CAPS United who beat ZPC Kariba 3-2 on the same day DeMbare overcame How Mine 2-0.
This time, however, things have changed and both CAPS United and Dynamos are in the same struggling position ahead of the derby, and are definitely out of the running for the league championship.
Dynamos too for the first time since 2011 are getting into the Harare derby without their long- serving club president Keni Mubaiwa, who quit the club and was replaced by Solomon Sanyamandwe.
Even coach Lloyd Mutasa has been swept away by the winds of change at DeMbare and has been replaced by Lloyd Chigove who was his assistant.
When the two teams met at the National Sports Stadium on April 22, Dynamos were upended 1-0 after the team’s prodigal son Denver Mukamba put up a brilliant show, but in the green colours of Makepekepe.
Mukamba was this afternoon supposed to have been on the field, but in the famous blue and white Dynamos jersey after rejoining the club that gave him a name in Zimbabwean football. Unfortunately, the player only started training on Thursday and is unlikely to have a say in this afternoon’s proceedings.
With the exception of the 2016 season when the Green Machine had to come back from three goals down and settle for a three-all draw in the last 12 minutes of the game, rarely does the Harare Derby end in a draw.
Dynamos fans, however, are hoping that it is their team that will come out with the three points or else they would move even closer to the Zifa Northern Region Division One.
The two teams, however, still have a dream of winning the Chibuku Super Cup as they are both in the semi-finals of the only knockout tournament in Zimbabwean football.
However, whatever the background to the match is, one thing that is clear is that a huge crowd will be at Rufaro Stadium this afternoon to dance to the tune of big Harare derby — that is for sure.
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