Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
RELEGATION fighters Triangle say they will not be easy opponents and have warned Harare giants CAPS United to brace for a tough outing when the teams clash in a league match at Gibbo this Sunday. The Sugar Sugar Boys know they cannot afford to drop more points especially at home as they are currently sitting deep in the relegation zone with five games remaining.
Makepekepe on the other hand need a win to keep alive their hopes in the championship race where they are stalking leaders Dynamos four points behind.
Triangle recently doubled winning bonuses to US$600 per player for each win in the last five games and skipper William Mapfumo yesterday told The Herald that his team is highly motivated.
“To tell the truth, we are left with no choice, but to collect as many points as we possibly can. So this game against CAPS United is a must-win.
“We are not going to play to entertain, we want points because our current position on the log standings is not safe. We respect CAPS United as one of the big teams in the league, but on the pitch there won’t be any respect for them.
“The good thing is we have been playing well as a team, if you have watched our matches, but luck has not been on our side since we were not scoring. Hopefully God will smile at us this time around,” said Mapfumo.
However, the hard tackling defender will not be available for selection as he has been suspended for accruing three yellow cards. Triangle, who recently won their first silverware after beating favourites Dynamos in the final of the NetOne One Wallet Cup, are looking for a change of fortunes in the league where they have managed only 27 points in 25 starts.
In contrast CAPS United are having one of their best seasons in years. The Green Machine are third in the league race and are unbeaten in their last seven games.
Makepekepe thrashed Bulawayo giants Highlanders 4-0 at the National Sports Stadium before the Premiership programme took a break to make way for the Chibuku Super Cup games.
That massive win not only boosted CAPS United’s confidence, but also took their points tally to 45.
CAPS United team manager Luis Maio nonetheless was cautious yesterday.
He said Makepekepe are looking forward to a positive result but they do not expect to get it on a silver platter, especially playing away at Gibbo.
“We expect a tough match at Gibbo, but we need to remain focused. Triangle have a never-say-die spirit and we should really be prepared for that match. It’s not easy playing such a team at their own backyard so those from our supporters who can afford to travel to Triangle we fully appreciate their presence,” said Maio.
Surprise packages ZPC Kariba will be out to maintain their fairytale run when they travel to FC Platinum on Saturday. Saul Chaminuka’s men are currently riding high, sitting on second place in the championship race with 47 points, two behind leaders Dynamos.
However, they are likely to find their hosts in high spirits following a good run that has marked their newly-found form under Norman Mapeza.
The platinum miners reminded many of the vast talents in their arsenal when they deployed an array of young players in their starting line-up which beat Black Rhinos 1-0 at Rufaro over the weekend to book a place in the final of the Chibuku Super Cup.
ZPC Kariba travel without one of the key players who has starred for them this season, Pride Tafirenyika who is suspended for this weekend after attracting three yellow cards in previous outings.
Moses Chunga’s Buffaloes are the most affected by the suspensions as Roy Mwenga and Kelvin Thembani will not be available for their home match against Harare City on Sunday.
Buffaloes are still not safe from relegation and they need maximum points to stay afloat. Harare City, sitting on eighth position, are only a point better and one rung above their opponents with 34 points. It is also a must-win game for them.
Masimba Dinyero’s men, who are coming from a morale-boosting 3-0 thrashing of giants Highlanders in the semi-finals of the Chibuku Super Cup last Sunday, are aiming for at least a top eight finish.
Pride Tafirenyika (ZPC Kariba), William Mapfumo (Triangle United), Heritein Masuku (How Mine), Wilson Chakanyuka (Black Rhinos), Kelvin Thembani and Roy Mwenga (Buffaloes)