Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
CAPS United assistant coach Fungai Tostao Kwashi has backed the Green Machine to overcome injuries dogging their dressing room ahead of the match against How Mine at Luveve this afternoon.
The Green Machine lost both wing-backs Valentine Musarurwa and Kudzai Nyamupfukudza in the last home assignment against Hwange. The match ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw and Makepekepe, who apparently had launched a late onslaught in their year’s championship, are likely to face a shortage of personnel going into the last four games.
“We are short in personnel in terms of the fact that we have lost Ronald Pfumbidzai, Leonard Tsipa, Dennis Dauda, Simba Sithole, Tafadzwa Rusike, Ronald Chitiyo and Abbas Amidu and Justice Jangano also is not there. So we have lost about eight quality players. So, as a squad, we are thin. We are having about 18 players but that happens as the season goes by. We knew very well that if people play well they were going to get contracts outside the country. People will get injuries; we expected that but all I am saying is even if we are left with 12 people, as a player you should just take responsibility,” said Kwashi.
Following the injuries to Musarurwa and Nyamupfukudza, Zvikomborero Bizeki will return for the trip to How Mine and so does diminutive midfielder Chrispen Machisi who has been relegated to the peripheries this season. This would mean skipper Hardlife Zvirekwi will most likely revert to right-back position as Makepekepe pray that no injuries continue to affect their already thin defence.
“It’s part and parcel of football. Some teams have 30 players and others 25 but we don’t have that luxury right now. There are times when we even had to carry three goalkeepers — Jorum, Eddie and Prosper — to make us 18.
“That’s how it is, we cannot run away from that fact. We just have to get on with our business and not be crybabies and mourners. I don’t believe in mourning, I don’t believe in crying. I believe in taking responsibility if you are in a situation we are in. We have to continue working hard, we have been grinding results, winning games with a thin squad. I cannot come today and say look we don’t have some of our defenders, that’s a coward mentality and we are not cowards at CAPS United,” said Kwashi.
Makepekepe have not lost a match in their last 10 outings. How Mine have been unpredictable this season. The 2015 champions Chicken Inn occupy fourth slot but they are still strongly involved in the championship race.
The Gamecocks are only four points behind leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars and they could apply pressure on the front-runners if they win their match against Tsholotsho across town at Barbourfields. Their coach Rahman Gumbo said his team’s focus was on getting maximum points and close in on the top three who play their matches tomorrow and Sunday.
“This is a tricky game, but we don’t have any option other than to pick up maximum points so that we reduce the gap to just a point as we wait for Sunday’s results. We have to do the job for ourselves by winning our games and avoid focusing on how other teams play. Remember we still have to play Ngezi and Dynamos, meaning the destiny of the championship is in our hands and we just have to do the job ourselves and not rely on anyone,” Gumbo said.
Chicken Inn head into the game following a 0-0 away draw against ZPC Kariba.