Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
Harare City………………………………….. 0
CAPS Utd…………………………………. (1) 1
CAPS United coach Darlington Dodo says the Green Machine are in safe hands under his watch and boldly declared they can afford to dream big this season.
The Harare giants claimed an important win over Harare City to shoot to the top of the Castle Lager Premiership table.
Newman Sianchali handed them victory with a powerful strike six minutes into the game as Makepekepe moved one point clear of ZPC Kariba on the standings.
Dodo was over the moon after getting one over his former boss, Lloyd Chitembwe, who crossed the floor last month to join the Sunshine Boys.
Makepekepe have now amassed 41 points after 23 games.
“It was a good win, it gives everybody within the institution some confidence going forward. I am very happy, especially for these boys,’’ said Dodo.
“If you look at their conduct, their attitude and the desire. It was superb . . . I think I have said it before. The championship is not something that we started talking about today.
‘‘It’s something that we planned with my colleagues.
“I was part of the technical team and they were part of us as well. We planned it at the beginning of the season. We sat down with the players and set targets at the beginning of the season.
“So, basically, where we are today is not a surprise to us but it’s somewhere we wanted to be and we will put a lot of effort to make sure that we achieve what we planned at the beginning of the season.’’
CAPS United raced into the lead early and did well top protect their solitary goal.
Harare City’s appeals for a penalty were waved away five minutes into the game after speedy forward Martin Vengesai smashed into goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba in the chase for a loose ball.
From there, Makepekepe launched a counter-attack with a long ball from Joel Ngodzo.
Sianchali controlled well down the pitch, beating his marker in the process. The veteran forward then unleashed a thunderbolt that nestled into the top corner. Harare City responded by probing the Green Machine goal and Chigumba produced made a good reflex save to deny William Manondo from a header.
But it was CAPS who almost doubled their lead, midway in the first half, when Clive Rupiya was involved in a quick exchange with John Zhuwawu and then fired a low shot towards goal.
But the goalkeeper made a strong save.
Harare City had better opportunities after the break and their best moment fell to Tatenda Tumba soon after the restart but the diminutive midfielder sent his booming shot wildly over the bar.
Chigumba then produced another fine save, with 10 minutes of regulation remaining, after William Manondo had headed goalwards from a free kick by Tumba.
“What we knew is we were going to play more or less the same after being with my colleagues who are now at Harare City,” said Dodo.
Chitembwe said his charges failed to handle the pressure involved in the game.
“I thought our first half was not very good and the reason is that maybe we were slightly overawed by the occasion,’’ he said.
“It’s the nature of the game. You know when the situation, especially off-pitch events, if they appear to be bigger, it becomes very difficult to manage some of these things.
“I think that was the major undoing for us in the first half but in the second half we did manage to regroup and it was a decent performance and I thought we also created some decent chances.
‘‘Mistakes in the second half were very minimal. I thought in the first half, our midfield was not very mobile, as we would have wanted it to be, and I think that was the major difference in today’s game.
‘‘They got their chance and they scored. We had our chances and we could not convert those into goals.’’
Harare City: M. Nyamupangedengu, T. Chimwemwe, M Diro-Nyenye, H. Chapusha, R. Uchena, T. Tavengwa, W. Mukanga (P. Moyo, 46th min), T. Tumba, J. Chipangura, W. Manondo, M. Vengesai
CAPS Utd: P. Chigumba, H. Zvirekwi, V. Musarurwa, M. Mwanjale, D. Mukandi, G. Goriyati, P. Bhamusi, J. Ngodzo, C. Rupiya, N. Sianchali (K. Nyamupfukudza, 82nd min), J. Zhuwawu (D. Chungwa, 46th min)