Harare Derby battlelines drawn
Eddie Chikamhi-Senior Sports Reporter
HARARE is divided once again as giants Dynamos and CAPS United clash in a Castle Lager Premiership match at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
There is even more at stake, with Dynamos battling to revive their fight for this year’s league championship while Makepekepe are hard pressed to turn around their fortunes and steer their ship away from the bottom half of the table.
The Derby also has a different meaning to the supporters and the players alike. CAPS United goalkeeper and captain Tonderai Mateyaunga, is one of the veterans of this long-running football rivalry, who have played for both teams.
“Playing the Harare Derby is something that I will always cherish for the rest of my life; playing it for both teams,” he said in his last interview before the game.
“Right now, I am happy at CAPS United, so what we want when we face Dynamos on Sunday (tomorrow) is to win and in order for us to win we have to apply ourselves the way the coaches have told us.
“We know we have had a very bad patch but what we are going to do is to try and change it when we face Dynamos. We want to urge all our fans to come in their numbers, so we go home smiling,” said Mateyaunga.
Unfortunately for Makepekepe, the Derby comes at a time the Green Machine has been going through one of their most trying times.
They have not won a match in their last eight games, played over a period of over two months. Dynamos have also turned out to be difficult opponents since the return from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Glamour Boys winning convincingly in two meetings and then drawing the other match.
But the return to the National Sports Stadium, where Makepekepe had a promising start at the beginning of the season before relocating to Bata in Gweru following a stadium crisis in Harare, has had Lloyd Chitembwe’s men believing again.
“What’ important is to play the game with all that we have and do what the coaches told us to do and try to get the result that we need.
“It’s good we are going to be playing at home at the National Sports Stadium. Even though we are away, it’s also our home ground. That’s where we started the season so well. So, when we play Dynamos, we hope to suffocate them with good football,” said Mateyaunga.
“As a player these games show how much you have developed. It’s a game that everyone wants to express himself and show the people what he can do. So, I am hoping me and my boys will show up and give the best to our fans.
“We haven’t been getting the results we wanted but we have been playing better and good football.
“We just hope we start getting results in this derby.
“It has been tough for us in this winless run. Things have not been going well for us despite starting so well. But I just hope playing Dynamos at the National Sports Stadium will give us the boost.
“Our fans are very much important to us and we are grateful to the times they have stood with us in this winless streak.”
CAPS United are currently sitting on 11th place with 27 points, just three above the relegation cut off mark and 18 adrift of log leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars, who play ZPC Kariba away at Nyamhunga this afternoon.
DeMbare on the other hand are sixth, with 36 points, nine behind the platinum miners. They, however, have a game in hand from the abandoned match against Highlanders, which they are likely to be awarded maximum points.
So winning the derby is of paramount importance to keep abreast with the leading teams. DeMbare need to tone for the 1-2 defeat at the hands of bogey side Bulawayo Chiefs in their last match.
Their coach Genesis Mangombe revealed he was not taking chances with CAPS United despite their winless run.
“CAPS United might be struggling of late but they remain CAPS United,” he said.
“They are a very big team with good players and a top coach. We have to be very cautious in our approach.
“It’s a very tough match for both teams. Fans should come in their numbers and witness top football between the two rivals,” he said.
The Glamour Boys have been boosted by the return of the pair of goalkeeper Prince Tafiremutsa and midfielder Tanaka Shandirwa from injuries.
Dynamos have reduced the cheapest ticket to US$3, down from the initially proposed U$5.
Today: GreenFuel v Simba Bhora (GreenFuel Arena), FC Platinum v Herentals (Mandava), Chicken Inn v Triangle (Luveve), Yadah v Bulawayo Chiefs (Baobab), ZPC Kariba v Ngezi Platinum (Nyamhunga), Sheasham v Cranborne Bullets (Bata)
Tomorrow: Black Rhinos v Manica Diamonds (Bata), Dynamos v CAPS United (NSS), Hwange v Highlanders (Colliery)