By Eddie Chikamhi
Giants CAPS United have recovered from the trauma they suffered at the hands of Nichrut supporters in Gweru at the weekend and will look to maintain their newly-found form when they host Chicken Inn at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
Makepekepe featured in their highest-scoring match this season when they overturned a second half deficit to beat newboys Nichrut 4-3 at Ascot on Saturday.
But the victory came at a huge price after a wave of violence from the home fans left both the Makepekepe supporters and some players nursing wounds.
Coach Lloyd Chitembwe yesterday revealed everyone was up and running and itching for their next challenge against the Gamecocks.
“We have no serious injuries. Everyone is ready to play and we expect a good game. The guys demonstrated a commendable fighting spirit in the match against Nichrut.
“It’s good for confidence and for our momentum going forward.
“But Chicken Inn are a very good side with quality and we anticipate a difficult game. That’s my prediction.
“The supporters should come and help the team in terms of giving us the confidence that we need at this point. We have played a quarter of the season and we need to carry the momentum,” said Chitembwe.
Two points separate the teams on the log standings with CAPS United in fifth place with 15 points and Chicken Inn on position six with 13 points.
“We have experienced a bit of a rough patch. But it’s a matter of time before we spring back to our best. I believe we have been playing some good football, but were unfortunate of late, dropping points unnecessarily, even in some matches that we could have easily won,” said Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas.
“Our conversion rate has been poor, we are not scoring enough and again we have made too many errors at the back and gifting our opponents with goals.
“So I can say it’s another difficult assignment playing against CAPS United who are in buoyant mood. I think we have got our work cut out, but in football anything can happen.”
Defending champions FC Platinum have been faring well and will hope to put pressure on log leaders Ngezi Platinum today when they host Black Rhinos at Mandava. The champions will miss the services of Soccer Star of the Year Rodwell Chinyengetere through suspension.
Highlanders defender Peter Muduhwa will also miss his side’s battle against Mutare City this afternoon.
Nichrut are the hardest hit by suspensions with the duo of Ephraim Mwinga and Shepherd Sithole ineligible for their match against Bulawayo City tomorrow.
Giants Dynamos will also be on the spotlight tomorrow when they travel to Ascot for a showdown against Chapungu.
Lloyd Mutasa’s men experienced a breath of fresh air at the weekend when they edged Bulawayo City 2-1 to get their first win this season.
“You cannot talk of relief when you win one match out of the number of games that we have played. Otherwise the positive thing is that the confidence is coming back.
“You look at the arsenal that we had. We had Peace Makaha, Marvelous Mukumba shaking off the injuries as well and they are coming at the right time when probably the team is about to kick-start.
“In terms of the championship, nothing has changed much in terms of how we want to revisit our targets. But I think what matters most is concentrating on one game at a time and then see what will be happening elsewhere,” said Mutasa.
FC Platinum v Black Rhinos (Mandava), CAPS United v Chicken Inn (NSS), ZPC Kariba v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Nyamhunga), Highlanders v Mutare City (Barbourfields)
Yadah v Shabanie (NSS), Chapungu v Dynamos (Ascot), Harare City v Triangle (Rufaro), Bulawayo Chiefs v Herentals (Luveve), Bulawayo City v Nichrut (Barbourfields).