Battle lines have been drawn, as crosstown rivals CAPS United and Dynamos renew their rilvary in a potentially-explosion Castle Lager Premier Soccer League clash at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
The latest installment of the Harare derby will for the umpteenth time, determine whether the capital city is green or blue.
Log leaders CAPS, who are the home team, have not lost a match this season and occupy top spot after six rounds of fixtures.
Lloyd Chitembwe’s men have conceded only one goal so far, and will be seeking to return to winning ways, after consecutive draws with defending champions FC Platinum and Chicken Inn.
DeMbare on the other hand, started the campaign well with victories over Hwange and Sheasham, but have not won any of their last three league games.
Last week’s defeat to Bulawayo Chiefs saw some disgruntled fans calling for DeMbare coach Herbert Maruwa’s head.
Players to look out for
CAPS United will be hoping that last season’s top goalscorer William Manondo, reaches the 20-goal mark in the gold and green strip.
The former Harare City man has two goals to his name so far, having netted 17 last term.
Chitembwe will also be hoping that the evergreen Joseph Thulani will be at this best.
The lanky midfielder is one of the unsung heroes at the Green Machine.
For DeMbare, crowd favorite Denver Mukamba will most likely take part, after missing the defeat to Chiefs due to injury.
Midfielder Tanaka ‘Kante’ Shandirwa, who had a good game despite DeMbare falling to Amakhosi last week, might prove decisive in Maruwa’s engine room, so will influential captain Frank Makarati and roving right back Emmanuel Jalai.
What the coaches said ahead of the game
Chitembwe: ” We are ready. The difference between doing well in a big match and failing is obviously about merging performance with results.
It’s important for us to perform well and get the result. We will try to put together a good performance that will ultimately give us the result so that we get the whole package out of it.
“This is the focus and I am sure this is also the thinking around all of us.’’
Maruwa: “They (CAPS) are the ones under pressure because they are the log leaders.
“We will go there and play our normal game, just do our job and collect maximum points.”
“We have a completely new team with a lot of youngsters. The fans need to be patient, you can’t expect your child to be born today then tomorrow you expect them to start walking, it’s a process.
“At the same time we are not saying we are relaxing. We want to win but at the same time we have a long term plan and I think we are on the right track.”
What the players said
Tonderai Mateyaunga (CAPS United): “I would say the derby has come at the best time for us if you are constantly our form. But the derby is usually not about form, it’s about application at the character of the team.”
Denver Mukamba (Dynamos): “Games like these can change the life of player. You can actually get an opportunity to go and play outside the country because of these kind of games.
“As a player, in games like these, you shouldn’t put yourself under pressure. Instead, you should just be confident.
“Individually, I can’t promise much but I want to do well against CAPS and it will be there for all to see.”
What former players who have been involved in the derby said
Energy Murambadoro (former CAPS United goalkeeper): “It’s about who wants it more on the day. I expect a very high tempo game ,the fans will obviously increase the excitement of the match.
“Every player dreams of playing big games and they don’t come any bigger than this. I also don’t think Dynamos will be affected by the fact that the majority of their players have not played in the derby.
Justice Majabvi (former Dynamos captain): “It’s a big game for both sides, I personally expect a thriller, good for the fans and the players themselves.
These are games as a player to market yourself and show the difference.
“Dynamos should show character going into the game, a positive result at the end of the match is vital.
“When going to such a match, there will be a lot of talk about the match,so discipline is important! Then put focus on the match , it helps in terms of concentration.
“I want Dynamos to win, thats my team. But they have to raise their game a bit. CAPS is also a good side ,they will give a headache.”
The match kicks off at 15:00, with rest of ground tickets pegged at US$3, while VIP tickets will cost US$5. VVIP tickets have been set at US$10.