CAPS United host Libyan champions Al Ahly Tripoli in their third group B fixture of the CAF champions league group stages at home at the national sports stadium in Harare this afternoon.
CAPS United are determined to make it to the next stage of the competition having qualified into the group stages for the first time in their history by knocking out five time champions TP Mazembe.
They have lost 2-0 away at Zamalek in Egypt and won 2-1 at home against Algerian giants USM Alger in Harare last week, collecting three points form the two matches.
Their opponents – who have won 12 Libyan premier league championships in their history with the biggest following in Libya – are under pressure, coming into the fixture with just one point after salvaging a draw against Zamalek in Egypt last week following their 3-0 defeat at the hands of USM Alger in the previous match.
Al Ahly have lost five games, drawn one and won four games in their last 10 games.
CAPS United will be looking to capitalize on their home advantage before they return the visit in a few weeks, but will exercise caution against the team which has made it just three times to the CAF champions league.
“Al Ahly are a good side, compact, yes they might have lost the first game, but last week they put out (sic) a good result against Zamalek in Egypt. They got a draw away. So they are a team which should not be underrated. We give them their due respect like all other 16 teams in the champions league. There are no easy games in the champions league. All the games are tough.
“And the opponents we are facing, they are champions of their respective countries, so we know tomorrow it’s going to be yet another fierce battle and we are looking forward to it and we are up for it,” CAPS United assistant coach, Fungai Kwashi Tostao told journalists in Harare yesterday.
The home team is reeling from a number of injuries with fullback and captain, Hardlife Zvirekwi, in a race for fitness ahead of the match this afternoon after pulling a muscle during their win over USM Alger last week.. Veteran striker, Leonard Tsipa, who has been slowly recovering from a knee injury, is also a doubt for the match.
Other doubtful players are midfielder, Devon Chafa, goalkeeper, Edmore Sibanda, and centre back, Valentine Musarurwa who are in a fitness race while centre back and vice captain, Dennis Dauda, has been ruled out of the match.
“Yes, Dauda is ruled out . . . but we hope in the coming weeks he’ll be back to full [fitness]. But the other ones you know you have already heard during the week. We are nursing them day to day around the clock to make sure some of them get back into the battle tomorrow.
“We have had a tough time with injuries, but we are soldiering on and come tomorrow (today), we hope we would have more positive news on those who are injured. But it’s part of the game, injuries, when the season starts you know you will encounter these things,” he added.
“You know when you go to war some of your soldiers get shot, some of them get bruised. But we take it in good spirit that we might have setbacks, but like they say, a setback is a platform for you to make a comeback and it’s an opportunity for someone to shine and anyone who gets that shirt, who replaces anyone who is injured, should come to the party for the team.
“Basically I cannot give you much information on names of the injured players at this moment in time, but maybe tomorrow morning (today) I’ll have more names to give you, but basically the ones you know are the ones who are still having the niggles and the knocks and [are] recuperating as each day goes by.”