Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
AS the battle for survival gathers steam, Yadah coach Thomas Ruzive has confidence his team is highly-motivated as they go out in search of points to defend their Premiership status in a clash against giants CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
Yadah are desperate for points in the remaining games of the season in order to keep their place in the league for a third stint.
The PHD Ministries-owned outfit are involved in the tough battles for survival and Ruzive believes they cannot afford to drop more points unnecessarily in the last four games. But this match against out-of-sorts giants CAPS United could be a big test for his boys.
“CAPS United are a big team. The players are already motivated because of that. The big boost is that we have a whole squad available. We have no suspensions this week and the health bill is 100 percent. So we have a wide selection base.
“But this is obviously not going to be an easy game. We will be out in full force in search of maximum points, but when you look at our opponents then you get a clearer understanding of what to expect this afternoon,” said Ruzive.
Yadah boosted their chances in the survival series when they beat Mutare City 2-0 away at the weekend, when most of the teams involved in the dogfight also collected points.
Attacking midfielder Johannes Sibanda’s brace made the big difference, as the victory helped the team move three points clear of the drop zone.
Yadah will also look forward to some of their trusted players like Leeroy Mavhunga, Morris Musiyakuvi and veteran forward Ralph Matema. But while the Waterfalls based outfit are focusing on survival, Makepekepe are still pushing for a possible top four finish.
The Green Machine, however, have been losing ground in recent matches. CAPS United have an unwanted record of five games not winning and this has elbowed them out of the top four in the current setting on the log standings.
This is their worst run this season after getting only two points from a possible 15. Coach Lloyd Chitembwe will be desperate to bounce back to winning ways following the defeats to Dynamos and ZPC Kariba in their most recent assignments.
Makepekepe have almost all their players available except skipper Method Mwanjali who is out through suspension. Ruzive said they will not look much into Makepekepe’s on-field woes.
“CAPS United are a very big club, but they haven’t been doing well of late, which means they are also desperate for maximum points, just like us. So we have to fight hard.
“As you can see we are still heavily involved in those relegation tussles and the competition for survival is getting tougher and tougher at the bottom.”
Giants Dynamos are also still in the mix and they need victory tomorrow when they face Herentals at Rufaro.
DeMbare boosted their fight when they won their last two games against CAPS United and Black Rhinos, which left them five points clear going into the last four games.
But they cannot afford to sit on their laurels yet. Dynamos will be without one of their captains Marshal Machazane because of suspension.
Castle Lager Premiership Fixtures
Today: Harare City v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Rufaro), FC Platinum v Chicken Inn (Mandava), Bulawayo Chiefs v Shabanie Mine (Luveve), CAPS United v Yadah (NSS), Triangle United v Mutare City Rovers (Gibbo)
Tomorrow: Herentals v Dynamos (Rufaro), Black Rhinos v Nichrut (NSS), Chapungu v Highlanders (Ascot), Bulawayo City v ZPC Kariba (Barbourfields).