Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
IT’S very unlikely they will be champions again this year, but CAPS United are proving to be the ultimate king makers in the race for the Castle Lager Premiership title.
Barring a sensational collapse from the leading teams, the Green Machine will not be able to defend the crown they won last year. But the champions are playing for the integrity of the game and they have, so far, given the leaders a tough run in their head-to-head battles. On Sunday, CAPS United derailed bitter rivals Dynamos’ hopes of taking over leadership of the marathon by beating the Glamour Boys 1-0 at Rufaro.
Dominic Chungwa scored the goal that made all the difference in the second half of the Harare Derby. Chungwa had missed the reverse fixture as he served a one-match suspension. The big striker was also on target when Makepekepe beat DeMbare 1-0 in the Harare Derby at the same stadium last year.
CAPS United have also thrashed Ngezi Platinum and beaten FC Platinum in recent weeks. On Thursday, they travel to the Colliery to fulfil an outstanding assignment against the coalminers. This will leave them with only one outstanding match at home against Highlanders.
But when the league resumes after this weekend’s Chibuku Super Cup first round action, the Green Machine will head to Mandava for a big encounter against FC Platinum. Club owner Farai Jere said the reigning champions, who reached the group stage of the Champions League, were fighting to ensure a credible champion will emerge at the end of the season.
“If you look at the matches we have played against the teams fighting for the league title, they have been heart-stoppers, with much intensity and competition,’’ he said.
‘’First it was FC Platinum, we gave them a good run in one of the best games in the league so far. “We humbled Ngezi Platinum and then Dynamos. The first match they dominated but being champions we turned the tables on them at Rufaro. “We are the champions, we have been involved in big battles in the Champions League this year, and on the local front what we simply want is presenting tough competition because for any team which will win the league this season, it is not easy on the African Safari, so they should expect such things if they are to do well next year.
“The team that wins the league should not win it on a silver platter.”
Interestingly, when the league resumes, Lloyd Chitembwe’s men have two games in succession against FC Platinum at Mandava before they host pacesetters Chicken Inn at the National Sports Stadium.
The two high-profile games will have a bigger say on the destiny of the title. Assistant coach Mark Mathe said they are happy with the progress and were now looking forward to Thursday’s game against Bigboy Mawiwi’s troops. “So far we are happy with the progress. Our main objective is to claw up the ladder, we now travel to Hwange, face another difficult game,” he said. Meanwhile, former Dynamos coach David Mandigora had one of his legs amputated recently.
Efforts to get a comment from the coach who led DeMbare to their first league title in 10 years, when they were crowned champions in 2007, were fruitless. Mandigora has struggled with a foot infection in the past.