Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
A WEEK after being thrown into turmoil, CAPS United have a golden chance to get a victory that could unite their factious camp when they take on plucky Chicken Inn in the Mbada Diamonds cup quarter-finals at Ascot today.
The Green Machine were rocked this week when coach Taurai Mangwiro was forced into quitting the Premiership side before he was persuaded to reconsider his decision.
A cold war was still raging on Tuesday at CAPS United’s training session when Mangwiro announced to the players that he was back and now goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube believes everything has returned to normal ahead of their clash against Chicken Inn.
Mangwiro stunned the CAPS United family when he threw in the towel on Sunday after a heavy defeat 3-1 to Shabanie at Maglas.
Just a few days earlier, Mangwiro had fired a salvo at the CAPS United executive led by Joe Makuvire for giving the technical team minimal support in their efforts to build a competitive outfit.
Already Chicken Inn have got the bragging rights, going into this match after having beaten the Harare giants twice this season.
During the first clash at Mandava, Chicken Inn beat CAPS United 3-2 in the NetOne Charity shield final before a lone strike from Tendai Ndoro gave them three points from a league clash at Luveve.
On Wednesday, the two sides will clash again in the reverse league match at the National Sports Stadium but for now Dube’s focus is on the immediate assignment.
“Everything is alright now at the team. I believe everything is in its place and order has been restored,” said Dube.
Dube said Mangwiro has just continued with his duties, as if nothing happened at the weekend, and they are hopeful that the Green Machine will remain well oiled for this Cup match.
“Morale is now high in our team and everyone is raring to go. Nothing much has changed in our camp and we all have a positive attitude.
“We have been encouraging each other to do well and I hope we will come out okay,” said Dube.
A veteran of many Premiership battles, Dube knows what is at stake as he makes up the last man in CAPS United’s defence with Tawanda Munyanduri, Tapiwa Kumbuyani, Ronald Pfumbidzai and Steve Makatuka giving him cover.
“It will be a different game but we are prepared for it,” said Dube.
Chicken Inn have been boosted by the return of Ndoro after his move to Mpumalanga Black Aces in the South African Premiership was put on ice until the next transfer window opens in January. While Ndoro could prove to be a handful for the CAPS United defence, Chicken Inn’s masterstroke could come from Mkhupali Masuku, who is their assistant coach.
Masuku is a former assistant at CAPS United after he was hand-picked by Taurai Mangwiro towards the end of last season. Mandla Mpofu, the Chicken Inn coach, yesterday said his side were being driven by the desire to succeed.
“We are a young team and CAPS United have won everything for their cabinet so we also want to win medals.
“This season we have beaten CAPS United twice but this is a new game and it will not be easy at all.
“We are playing against the Cup Kings but we have to do well so that we are also recognised in domestic football,” said Mpofu.
Chicken Inn arrived in Gweru on Thursday and have trained at the match venue.
“We travelled to Gweru on Thursday and managed to get a feel of the match venue before the game.
“So far we have no injuries to worry about in our squad and everyone is ready.
“The return of Tendai Ndoro is a good motivation for the whole team. His absence had been a setback for him and now he wants to do even better than before he briefly left.”
The Bulawayo side also have another ace in their sleeve, midfielder Kuda Mahachi. The diminutive midfielder has been one of the standout players in the domestic Premiership and has grown in confidence as the season has progressed and could be a handful for the CAPS United defence this afternoon. Chicken inn destroyed Shabanie Mine 3-0, in Zvishavane, in the first round while CAPS United struggled to squeeze past Motor Action, who missed a penalty in regulation time, in the lottery. Shabanie coach, Luke Masomere, this week said he was tipping Chicken Inn to win the Mbada Diamonds Cup this season and few will argue against that.