Old foes Dynamos & CAPS United lock horns

Old enemies Dynamos and CAPS United cross swords in their umpteenth battle for supremacy in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League before what is expected to be a full house at the National Sports Stadium this after­noon.\r\n

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CAPS United are coming from a six-match winless streak but are posi­tive of returning to winning ways starting today, with their long-suffer­ing fans appearing not to have lost any of their zeal.

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On the other hand, Dynamos are chasing Highlanders at the top of the table and must win this game in order to keep in check the log leaders who are already strong favourites to dis­lodge the defending champions.

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Gate charges for one of the biggest games of the season, to be officiated by no-nonsense Harare policeman Norman Matemera, have been fixed at US$5 for the rest of the ground, US$10 for bays 15, 16, 18 and 19 and US$20 for the VVIP.

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The last time the Green Machine beat De Mbare was way back in 2009 at the end of a four-year dominance, and Ger­man-bound Nyasha Mushekwi struck a memorable brace before his move to Mamelodi Sundowns the fol­lowing sea­son.

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Since then Dynamos have had their way around their city rivals, save for a goalless draw recorded last season.

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Makepekepe assistant coach Mkhuphali “Mr Cooper” Masuku refused to go into history, saying they were new coaches with new ideas who were looking for­ward to a fruitful stay at the green side of town. Masuku fur­ther attributed the two-match loss recorded by the Taurai Mangwiro-led technical department to bad luck.

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“We have been doing all we could, but the goals were proving difficult. But the past two defeats to High­landers and Black Mambas brought us some posi­tives which we are hoping to build on.

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“You can understand that we were still grasping the culture of this club, but we have now realised that our play­ers are hungry for success and want to win against their strong ene­mies,’’ said Masuku.

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With the former Highlanders mid­fielder and coach flanking former Dynamos linkman and Monomotapa mentor Mangwiro, the Green Machine went about their last training session at the match venue’s B-Arena on Friday morning with verve and style.

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Masuku hinted at changes in the CAPS line-up from the unit that has been doing business since the start of the season.

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“Definitely there will be a couple of changes, some of which may be surpris­ing. We are looking at those with the tem­perament for such big encounters. We have the quality players who can make a difference in this game,’’ said Norman Mapeza’s former Warriors assistant coach.

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Although Masuku would not be drawn into any further discussions on his line-up, it was evident from CAPS’ tactical outlook at training that former Zimbabwe international Shingi Kawon­dera and once-capped Clive Kawinga would spearhead the attack.

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Newly signed ex-Gunners striker Leonard Fiyado, who has featured in all three matches played since his arrival, is likely to play as a third striker. On his debut in Hwange, the sleek forward scored one of only two goals to be provided by a striker at CAPS United the whole season.

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Washington Pakamisa, who claimed the other slot earlier in the season, will start from the bench alongside for­mer DeMbare favourite Evans Gwekw­erere.

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Muzondiwa Gonese, who was handed the gloves against Mambas and saved a penalty last week, looks set to continue, watched over by a rearguard of Tapiwa Khumbuyani, the roving Douglas Walaza, Nyasha Mukumbi and the resolute Blessing Zebula.

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Midfield workhorse David Red­hiyoni seems to have been allocated a more expressive role since Mangwiro took over and will carry the club hon­ours in a department where the match will be fought and won. His lieutenants are likely to be the exciting Rahman Kutsanzira and vet­eran ball master Marvel Samaneka.

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The trio will be up against a formida­ble midfield combination on the blue side comprising the indefatigable Makopa, tactful Tawanda Muparati, Zimbabwe international Denver Mukamba and multi-talented Farai Mupasiri.

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Muparati will remain the trump card, not only through his rich vein of form in the current season but also because of his knack for always settling the Harare derby.

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CAPS’ trainer Masuku even spoke of “shutting out’’ the Rugare-born mid­fielder by not giving him space to oper­ate from. DeMbare goalkeepers’ coach Tichaona Diya repeatedly warned his lads not to underrate their opponents, saying form hardly counts on derby day.

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“The team that converts its chances on the day wins the match and so it is not a matter of who is playing better than the other at the moment,’’ he said. But Diya said they will not show their long-standing city rivals any mercy.

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“We appreciate CAPS United are hungry for success but it’s unfortunate that they meet us when we are seeking to close the gap with Highlanders. We are not thinking of anything else other than a full three points.’’

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But the former DeMbare goalie bemoaned a congestion of fixtures they have had to fulfil, warning that fatigue might take its toll on the play­ers.

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“We have never had a break. After our Champions League and Confed­eration Cup matches, we continued with the league programme when other teams rested and on Wednesday we are playing FC Platinum at Rufaro,’’ sighed Diya.

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The goalkeepers’ trainer also revealed that there could be changes in the line-up.

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“I am happy that we have an array of players to select from because we will be forced to make some changes from the team that beat Quelaton last week mainly due to injuries. But I can’t name any because it depends on which for­mation we will use.’’

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Bustling striker Roderick Mutuma will certainly be available to lead the attack and should make a troublesome presence in the CAPS United box with support from an attacking Mupasiri, while Pasuwa may also call in Martin Vengesai and Zambian import Der­rick Kabwe for reinforcement.

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Tall goalkeeper Gorge Chigova is cer­tain to guard goal post with roving David Kutyauripo and Ocean Mushure occupying the right-back and left-back posi­tions while the impenetrable defensive wall of Guthrie Zhokinyu and captain Gorge Magariro provides cover for Chigova.

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Probable Teams

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CAPS United: M. Gonese, T. Khum­buyani, D. Walaza, N. Mukumbi, B. Zebula, R. Kutsanzira, M. Samaneka, D. Rediyoni, C. Kawinga, S. Kawondera, L. Fiyado.

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Dynamos: G. Chigova, D. Kutyauripo, O. Mushure, G. Magariro, G. Zhokinyu, M. Makopa, M. Murape, D. Mukamba, C. Sekete, F. Mupasiri, R. Mutuma.

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Fixtures : CAPS United v Dynamos (National Sports Stadium); Chicken Inn v Shabanie Mine (Luveve).

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