CAPS seek to retain ‘Cup Kings’ tag

CAPS United are hoping to finally win a knock-out tournament in a decade, but the Green Machine will have to be at their best if they are to eliminate holders Harare City in the Chibuku Super Cup semi-finals. The two sides were drawn to face each other in Harare yesterday, with the other semi-final pitting Dynamos and Triangle.

The games are scheduled for next weekend.

CAPS United have struggled to retain their status as the “Cup Kings’’ of Zimbabwean football since they won the BancABC Sup8r trophy under controversial circumstances in 2008.

Now they have set their eyes on the biggest knock-out tournament in the country, which comes with a ticket to represent the nation in the CAF Confederation Cup.

But they will have to first find a way past the Harare City hurdle in the semi-final.

Harare City have monopolised the competition in the last two years and they have been in terrific form in this year’s edition as they are angling for a hat-trick of titles.

CAPS United chief executive Cuthbert Chitima said his team would not be intimidated by the Sunshine Boys’ remarkable achievements in this competition.

Chitima, however, admitted that Harare City are not an easy opponent, but reckoned Makepekepe will progress to the final and ultimately win the tournament.

“Remember there are only four teams that are left in the tournament out of the 17 clubs which took part, so it’s obvious when only four are left it becomes tough. So it’s not an easy draw against Harare City.

“These are teams playing in the league, but as CAPS United, we are ready to face anyone.

“Definitely, CAPS United will be victorious, we are going all the way to the final. This is the cup that we have been waiting for and this is the chance,’’ Chitima said.

But CAPS United will need to improve on their precision if they are hoping to win this competition.

Lloyd Chitembwe’s men have not scored even a single goal in the tournament as they progressed from the first round against Chapungu and in the quarter-finals against ZPC Kariba via penalties, but Chitima believes that it is not a sign of weakness on his team’s part.

“All the matches which we have played were decided by penalties and its part of the game as well as the rules.

“So we didn’t labour to those victories, we are in the semi-finals because we deserve to be there.

“And like I have always been saying, we are going to the final and what we want is to lift the cup.”

The administrator said his team intends to have another dance in the African Safari, where they reached the CAF Champions league group-stages in 2017 after winning the Premiership title the previous year.

“The fact that winning the Chibuku Super Cup comes with an opportunity to represent the country in the CAF Confederation Cup is another motivating factor on our part, looking at the fact that we have to go back to compete in Africa. I am quite positive and confident that we will play in Africa again.”

Chitima’s Harare City counterpart Tafadzwa Bhasera welcomed the draw and warned Makepekepe to brace for a tough ride.

“It’s a fair draw, definitely. Look, we have always been like that, any team that comes our way should be the one sweating over facing the defending champions. We have got that feeling that whichever teams comes our way, we are ready. So facing CAPS United in the semi-final is not an insurmountable task.” said Bhasera.

“It will take a lot more hard work from our boys to be champions again. We believe in ourselves and what we are capable of doing. Harare City is no longer a small team. We are eyeing a hat-trick.

Bhasera said her team will be out to win the trophy for a record third time in a row.

“We won the cup in 2016 as well as last year, so we can also do the same this time around. CAPS United is a big team, but we also have an exciting band of determined individuals who know what they are doing. We have always been ready to face any team, so there is nothing to panic about.

“We play in the same league and those are the same teams which were there when we won the trophy in the past two years.

“Obviously a lot might have changed since we beat How Mine in the final last year, but we are still Harare City and we have even improved in the way we play as evidenced by our performance in the league,” Bhasera said.

But, in the meantime, both clubs have their full attention in the league where they are fighting for strong finishes.

Harare City have a date against Shabanie at Maglas tomorrow, while CAPS United are away to ZPC Kariba this afternoon.

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