‘Mr Chibuku’ misses CAPS United match
Senior Sports Reporter
GIANTS CAPS United are ready to go into the Chibuku Super Cup battle against old foes Highlanders without their top marksman William Manondo who is away on national team duty.
Makepekepe and Highlanders will clash for the first time in this tournament on Sunday at Barbourfields.
Addressing a pre-match press conference yesterday, the Green Machine assistant coach Fungai Tostao Kwashi said they will miss Manondo, the club’s top goal scorer with six strikes to his name this season.
Not many years ago, Manondo endeared himself to the domestic football fraternity as “Mr Chibuku” because of his distinct scoring record in this competition, after leading Harare City to two titles in 2015 and 2017 with his unrivalled marksmanship.
However, the 32-year-old will not be available for the crucial battle against Bosso, along with defender Godknows Murwira. The pair is in Botswana with the national team for the neighbours’ independence day celebrations invitational match to be played in Gaborone tomorrow.
Bosso defender Peter Muduhwa and midfielder Brighton Manhire are also out of this match because of the Warriors’ commitments while injured goalkeeper and captain Ariel Sibanda is a doubtful starter.
“Obviously, any team would want to have a full complement of their squad or their best players for such a match as this (against Highlanders). But if you look at the other side of the coin, it’s actually an opportunity for the other players who will be getting the starts to shine.
“Sometimes these things work as a blessing in disguise. So the guys who will be given the chance should grab it with both hands and give an excellent performance.
“We wish Murwira and Manondo all the best with the national team. The club has enough personnel and enough quality players to play this weekend and get the results,” said Kwashi.
Makepekepe progressed to the quarter-final after beating Hwange in the last 16. But they have a poor record in the Chibuku Super Cup, in which they only managed to go past the quarter-final stage once, in 2018, before losing to Harare City in the last four.
In fact, they have historically struggled to go beyond the first round. This year’s Chibuku Super Cup tournament has coincided with a troubled league campaign, in which they find themselves closer to the relegation zone than they are to the team at the top.
But Kwashi believes Chibuku could be their hope to finish with silverware and gatecrash into CAF inter-club competitions.
“At this juncture, we are in the Chibuku Super Cup and we would want to go as far as possible. And obviously because we are known as the Cup Kings, we have done well in Africa before. So our target is going back into the continent.
“This is the route, the other one being the league competition. So we are serious and we are challenging ourselves to go step further than we have done before in the Chibuku Super Cup.
“We haven’t won the Chibuku Cup yet but we are known as the Cup Kings. So it’s one cup which we need in our trophy cabinet; and we are not putting ourselves under pressure.
“But after the performances we gave, especially in the second half (of the 1-0 Harare Derby defeat to Dynamos) last week, we are going into this game against Highlanders with so much confidence, so much exuberance and zeal to do better.
“We have to try and give something back to the fans who have been supporting us through this tough period we are going through.
“We owe them a victory; we owe them a cup but like I said we are going to do this without putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves.
“We are going to work hard, give everything we have so that we enhance our chances of winning. We are going to take it one game at a time and we have an important game on Sunday,” said Kwashi.
Tomorrow: FC Platinum v Dynamos (Mandava), Chicken Inn v Black Rhinos (Luveve)
Sunday: Herentals v Ngezi Platinum Stars (National Sports Stadium), Highlanders v CAPS United (Barbourfields)