BY HENRY MHARA
Last five matches
Caps D W L D L Dynamos D W D D D
Dynamos are in no mood to do championship-chasing Caps United any favours ahead of the big Harare derby at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
Caps played a big role in helping Dynamos win the league title in 2013 and 2014 by derailing the teams that were tussling with the Glamour Boys for the title.
In 2013, Caps held Harare City in the last game of the season when the local authority side sought victory in that match to clinch the title. Dynamos, who were second on the log, took full advantage to clinch the main prize.
The following year, Caps beat ZPC Kariba in the last game of the season, with the latter needing just a draw in the match to lift the title in their debut season. Dynamos, second on the standings prior to the last round of matches, again, exploited the chance and grabbed the title.
Now Caps are two points clear of nearest rivals FC Platinum and Chicken Inn at the top of the league table with three matches to go, and if they beat Dynamos, they will make a huge step towards claiming the main prize.
As the two rivals prepare to face off in the biggest match of the weekend, there is a general feeling among Caps fans that their city rivals owe them big.
But Ndiraya has bad news for them.
“They played ZPC Kariba and Harare City, and not Dynamos. If we were playing their rivals in the title race, maybe we might have considered that and do them a favour by beating those other teams.
But this is a derby and the scenarios are different, so there are no favours which we will extend to them. They (Caps) want to achieve something, and we also have our season targets, so no favours,” Ndiraya said.
Dynamos are targeting to finish in the top four.
Ndiraya’s side started the season badly, but have since improved and are currently fifth on the log, just two points behind the team sitting on fourth. They could, however, fall to 10th position if they lose this match.
They are unbeaten in their last 19 matches although they drew most of those matches. DeMbare have vowed to continue with their undefeated run until the end of the season.
“We want to add this match to our unbeaten run. We want to remain undefeated in the remaining three matches, but most importantly, we want maximum points in those matches so that we can push to get into the top four.”
Caps have been huffing and puffing of late. Luckily, for them, their nearest rivals FC Platinum and Chicken Inn have also been dropping points regularly.
But the Green Machine cannot continue to ride on their luck. If they lose this one, then they will complicate the situation for themselves.
Caps coach Darlington Dodo, who watched in anguish as his team squandered a 2-0 lead to share the spoils with Yadah in their last match, is confident that the 2016 champions can recover from that setback in the Harare derby.
“Derbies are always difficult and it will not be easy facing Dynamos. But I am happy we are facing them at a time they are enjoying good form. It makes it interesting and it motivates us. Looking at the boys at training, there is great desire, hunger and enthusiasm. We really want to win this one and we are going for maximum points, nothing less,” he said.
Dodo will be without his top goalscorer John Zhuwawo, who is serving suspension, but Newman Sianchali returns after missing the last game.
Dynamos welcome back a number of senior players, including Archford Gutu, Simba Nhivi, Munyaradzi Mawadza, Godfrey Mukambi and Godknows Murwira, who missed the team’s last two matches due to varying reasons.
Ndiraya has, however, said the returning players will have to prove that they deserve to start in the match, ahead of the youngsters who have done well in the team’s last two matches.
The cheapest ticket for the match has been pegged at $20.
Today: Bulawayo Chiefs v Chicken Inn (Luveve), Harare City v Yadah (Rufaro)
Tomorrow: Black Rhinos v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Rufaro), Caps v Dynamos (National Sports Stadium), Mushowani v TelOne (Trojan Mine), Hwange v Herentals (Colliery), Triangle v ZPC Kariba (Gibbo), Highlanders v Manica Diamonds (Barbourfields), Chapungu v FC Platinum (Ascot)