Augustine Hwata and Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporters
CAPS United yesterday doused the flames that have been engulfing their house for the past two weeks after the club’s players and the technical staff were paid their salaries.
The Green Machine has been battling turmoil in its camp, triggered by a protest by players last week who threatened not to fulfil their league match against Bantu Rovers until their outstanding dues had been met, and matters came to a head when they were hammered 0-6 by FC Platinum in a Commander ZNA Charities Cup final at Mandava.
But CAPS United yesterday secured the funds to pay their players and coaching staff after they received payment for finishing as runners-up in the Charity Cup while the club’s leadership also got money from other sources to meet the bill for the players and coaches.
This means that the Green Machine will now fulfil their Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final against FC Platinum at Mandava tomorrow, a game that had been hanging in the balance with players saying they will only fulfil it if they are paid.
Given that the Chibuku Cup is sponsored by the league’s main sponsors, Delta Beverages, a boycott of tomorrow’s match by the Green Machine, whose president Twine Phiri is also the chairman of the league, would have been a huge embarrassment to the top-flight league leadership and strained their relationship with their chief backers.
CAPS United brand manager Joyce Kapota said they were now planning for the trip to Mandava.
“We have managed to settle what has been owing to the players. I can say normalcy has returned to our camp,” Kapota told The Herald.
“Now we are looking forward to the game in Mandava and we hope we will atone for the defeat last week.”
CAPS United boss Phiri met with the Green Machine captains — Tapiwa Khumbuyani, Tafadzwa Dube and Tendai Samanja — last night where he discussed the challenges that have been rocking the club and wanted assurances that the players were in the right frame of mind to compete in their next game tomorrow.
FC Platinum said yesterday they will not be distracted by problems which have been rocking their Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final opponents CAPS United as they plot another success story against the Harare giants tomorrow at Mandava.
The platinum miners are still in high spirits after inflicting Makepekepe their heaviest defeat in the ZNA Charity Cup final last Saturday at the same venue with a comprehensive 6-0 winning margin.
This was only the second time FC Platinum had managed to pull a victory over CAPS United since they gained promotion in 2011.
Kugona Kunenge Kudada feel the chickens are coming home to roost, having beaten the Green Machine for the first time this year when they edged them 2-1 at Mandava in the first round of the league championship.
FC Platinum skipper Daniel Veremu yesterday said they will not look much into Makepekepe’s woes.
The former Warriors defender said they were looking forward to maximise on home advantage.
He said CAPS United will always be a big threat despite beating them by a wide margin last week.
“Of course, we have the advantage of playing at home because we know our turf but CAPS United also have supporters countrywide.
“One thing for sure is they are coming here better prepared following that defeat.
“CAPS United are a big team and what happened last week should have been very humiliating to them as an institution. So coming back here they would surely want to erase the bad memories, probably by registering a big win.
“So we need to be on our guard. It’s a new game, there shouldn’t be complacency because, if you look at the records, this was only our second win over CAPS United since FC Platinum came into the league in 2011.
“CAPS United have been tough opponents throughout the years. That is why I am saying statistics sometimes don’t count for much in football, especially in cup games,” said Veremu.
FC Platinum thrashed Bantu Rovers 3-0 in the first round of the Chibuku Super Cup through goals from Qadr Amini, Ashley Mukwena and Zambian Aaron Katebe.
Veremu said they are looking to add the Chibuku Super Cup to the Independence Cup their won earlier in the year.
The spirits are high in their camp as new coach Norman Mapeza looks to turn around the fortunes of the team following a slow start under Lloyd Mutasa.
“There is great competition in the team because the new coach has made it clear that only those who put maximum effort will earn their places in the team. He has his philosophy and you simply have to fit into his style of play. So no matter how good you are, you still have to prove yourself at training. Everyone is working hard; it’s healthy,” said Veremu.
CAPS United made it to the last eight with a 3-0 win over Chapungu.
Newboys Honey Chimutimunzeve and Nicholas Alifandika were on target while Ronald Pfumbidzai scored the other goal.
Their coach Taurai Mangwiro has had tough time this week trying to motivate his players to focus on the next chal- lenge.
Two matches will be played at the stadium tomorrow to allow broadcast on SuperSport. Harare City and Chiredzi will set the stage alight with a lunch-time kick-off.
The games will move to Bulawayo on Sunday where Highlanders engage giant-killers How Mine at Hartsfield. The programme for the quarter-final matches winds up on Monday when Black Rhinos and Triangle clash at Ascot.
Chibuku Super Cup Fixtures
Chiredzi v Harare City (Mandava, 1:00pm, SS), FC Platinum v CAPS United (Mandava, 3:00pm, SS)
How Mine v Highlanders (Hartsfield, SS)
Black Rhinos v Triangle United (Ascot, SS).