Paul Mundandi in ZVISHAVANE
Shabanie Mine.. 0
CAPS United…. 0
CHAMPIONS CAPS United might have started the defence of their Castle Lager Premiership crown with a draw at Maglas yesterday but the Green Machine stretched their unbeaten run in the league to 11 games, stretching over six months now. The Harare giants have not lost a game in the top-flight since being hammered 1-3 by Bulawayo City at Barbourfields on August 20 last year.
Since then, they have won eight games and drawn three, including yesterday’s opener against a stubborn Shabanie who punched above their weight and could have been full value for a victory.
Makepekepe have now failed to win, in regulation time, all their four competitive matches away from home this season.
They were held by Lioli of Lesotho and TP Mazembe of the DRC in the Champions League while they also settled for a goalless draw against Highlanders in the ZNA Charities Shield final before winning the penalty shoot-out lottery.
Shabanie Mine, who have spiced their squad with a number of experienced players, gave as much as they got and — with better luck — could have come out winners of this contest.
There have been fears in the CAPS United camp that the champions could be victims of their success in the league last year, and in the Champions League this season, and there was an element of complacency in their approach yesterday.
Instead, Shabanie Mine, cheered by a huge number of their loyal fans, produced a spirited show.
The club’s technical manager, Taku Shariwa, who was the Mutare City coach when CAPS United started their unbeaten run by thrashing his men 4-1 at the National Sports Stadium, was a happy man this time around.
“We could have won easily but maybe it was not our day. I am happy for the lads. We are poor as a club. We do not have resources like other clubs but we compensate that by the multitude of fans we have on their side,’’ said Shariwa.
“We have a big following and getting positive results for them is good. I just want to emphasise that the good days are coming back. A number of clubs are going to fall at Maglas and they need to be warned.’’
Former Dynamos hitman Farai Mupasiri was a threat all afternoon and could have had his name on the score sheet in the 19th minute but he headed wide from close range.
He received a standing ovation in the 81st minute when he was substituted after being injured.
Ten minutes later Wellington Taderera was a shade to slow to shoot at goal when he was sent through with Collins Dhuwa and the alert Edmore Sibanda saved his effort.
CAPS United had their chance, too, but they were denied by Shabanie Mine goalkeeper Samuel Mafukidze.
Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo forced a smart save from Mafukidze who pushed his thunderbolt from outside the box for a corner.
William “Munhumutema” Mapfumo and Lloyd Manyande kept Leonard Tsipa under lock and key.
Coach Lloyd Chitembwe was happy with the performance of his men.
“The fans deserved a very good match and I am sure the application that both teams gave was very excellent. We were not looking at history because history is for the archives.
“We could have done better but it was a fair result for us.
The result is not really important but what was very important to us is the mission and the mission ends in November or December and that is very key for us.
“I will not fault my players, I have an excellent group of players and I am not looking at the negatives. My players deserve credit for their performance,” said Chitembwe.
Shabanie Mine: S. Mafukidze, A. Dzumbunu, W. Mapfumo, T. Mupumha, F. Mupasiri (J Nyabinde 81st min), T Mavhunga, C. Dhuwa, W. Taderera (D Chivandire 58th min), T. Chimoya (B. Mutigo 77th min) N. Mpofu, L. Manyande
CAPS United: E. Sibanda, H. Zvirekwi (R Pfumbidzayi 75th min), V Musarurwa, J. Jangano, D. Dauda, D. Chafa (J. Ngodzo 71st min), M. Muchenje, R. Chitiyo, P. Bamusi, T. Rusike (D. Chungwa 55th min) L. Tsipa