Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
IT will be rumble in the jungle at Trojan Mine’s famed “Potato Field” when Harare rivals CAPS United and Motor Action clash in a Mbada Diamonds Cup first round tie that promises to be an explosive affair in Bindura this afternoon. Unlike the rest of the teams in the Premiership that have
already clashed, this will be the first time that CAPS United and Motor Action are meeting on the pitch this season with their scheduled league showdown having failed to take place in controversial circumstances on April 15.
The Mighty Bulls insisted that the Week Three match be played at Motor Action Sports Club, while CAPS United and the referees waited for them in vain at Gwanzura.
In the end, the dispute had to be settled in the boardroom with CAPS United being awarded the game on a 3-0 scoreline.
But there is no likelihood of Motor Action going to Rufaro today and CAPS United waiting for them at the National Sports Stadium because both the Mighty Bulls brass band and the Makepekepe supporters will head for one destination — the 88km journey to Bindura.
There is also no doubting that the Green Machine against Mighty Bulls encounter is the pick of the first round clashes that have been spread to various venues across the country in line with Mbada Diamonds’ motto — “Harnessing diamonds for the people’’.
Interestingly, the showdown also comes just five days after CAPS United finally remembered how to win with a 2-1 triumph over Hardbody at the National Sports Stadium.
A David Rediyoni brace ensured CAPS United ended a 10-match winless streak and more importantly halted a record seven-game losing streak, the worst by any Makepekepe team in the era of the Premiership.
That win over Hardbody also torched wild celebrations within the CAPS United family and gave them reason to believe that they have turned the corner.
Even the club’s management were so thrilled with the win over Hardbody and upped the winning bonuses from US$200 per player to US$500.
CAPS United are now in 11th place on the log standings and closer to the relegation zone than they are to the championship title and have now set the Mbada Diamonds Cup as their major target for this season.
But they would have to start the journey towards a maiden Mbada Cup final appearance with yet another tough first round hurdle.
Last year it was Dynamos who ensured that CAPS United’s flirtation with the inaugural Mbada Diamonds Cup ended prematurely when they knocked them out in the first round on their way to winning to the competition.
In the build-up to today’s game CAPS United vice-president Farai Jere has been telling anyone who cares to listen that his vision is to see his team winning either the championship or the biggest knockout tournament in the land and earn the ticket to represent Zimbabwe on the continental stage.
It is Jere’s contention that the Green Machine deserve to be a regular feature on the Champions League or Confederation Cup radar and that CAPS United have struggled to reach the heights that their potential richly deserves, has been a huge cause for concern for the Harare businessman, who together with his partner Twine Phiri, have invested a fortune in the club.
The big question when CAPS United and Motor Action troop into battle will be whether the Mighty Bulls will all but end Makepekepe’s season by knocking them out of the Mbada Diamonds Cup?
Mighty Bulls coach Joey Antipas, however, said yesterday that he was bracing for a massive showdown “from familiar foes’’.
Antipas also spoke about Motor Action’s own ambitions of going a step further this year and doing better than being the bridesmaids they were to Dynamos in last year’s final.
A second half strike by Roderick Mutuma ensured a 1-0 victory for Dynamos over the Mighty Bulls in last year’s final at the National Sports Stadium but Antipas wants his charges to actually win the cup this term.
But former Warriors assistant coach Antipas maintained that the focus at the moment is on today’s match at Trojan Mine and revealed that Zimbabwe second choice goalkeeper Marlon Jani will be the only notable absentee from his ensemble.
“It’s game on tomorrow . . . Mbada Cup is a cup that all teams will fight for because of its rich pickings. It is going to be a hell of a game against a familiar foe,’’ Antipas said.
Antipas said they were not worried by the fact that CAPS United’s win over Hardbody could have boosted the Makepekepe confidence levels.
“We can meet CAPS United anytime, whether they are on a roll or on a low. They have won for the first time after a long while which should give them confidence but we are ready.
“We will miss Marlon who is out with hamstring injuries but Ronald Mudimu is experienced enough to guard the posts and everybody else is fit for selection,’’ Antipas said.
Although Jani will be missing, he remains influential in the Motor Action camp and is likely to rally the boys to produce their best against Makepekepe.
The Mighty Bulls coach also challenged his defenders to be on the alert and said he was not impressed by the manner they conceded their first goal in the 2-2 home draw against Black Mambas last Saturday.
Motor Action also missed a penalty in that game.
But for CAPS United striker Shingi Kawondera, today’s game is one big battle for which his teammates and him “are prepared to die on the pitch’’.
Kawondera is still searching for his first goal on the domestic scene since his return from years of professional football in Europe.
“I think we will have a positive result. The morale is high in our camp now after Tuesday’s win.
“Of course, it’s not going to be easy, but we believe that we will pull through to the next round and now that the goals have started coming, I have a strong feeling that even I will score a goal anytime now,’’ Kawondera said.