By Eddie Chikamhi and Mukudzei Chingwere
After a midweek setback, giants CAPS United are bracing for a tricky outing at Shabanie Mine on Sunday. The Green Machine are looking to prop up their campaign following the 1-0 home defeat to Chicken Inn on Tuesday which drew them further from the leading teams in the Castle Lager Premiership race.
CAPS United have 15 points from their opening nine games of the season.
And their coach Lloyd Chitembwe reckoned after the defeat to Chicken Inn that they needed to do their homework ahead of their next assignment.
Chitembwe’s men suffered an early setback when they allowed veteran Obadiah Tarumbwa space in the box and could not recover from the ninth minute blow despite a spirited fightback.
The coach will be hoping for a perfect response, especially from his forwards, who apparently lacked the sharpness that they had demonstrated in a previous assignment.
But the Green Machine have always struggled at Maglas.
CAPS United should have long lost count of when they last won at Maglas where they have only managed to pick up two points in their last four visits.
Despite losing their last game to Chicken Inn, Chitembwe remained positive his charges will not be deflated.
Makepekepe had staged a dramatic comeback the previous week in a 4-3 away win at Nichrut.
He said their performance against Chicken Inn inspired hope in him.
“The boys tried so hard, but at the end of the day it couldn’t yield results. But I am very happy with the performance, I am very happy with the character. What we can only draw from this performance is the confidence and hope going into the next game,” said Chitembwe.
Goalkeeper Prosper Chigumba will miss the trip to Zvishavane through suspension.
Chigumba was shown a red card in the match against Chicken Inn for a professional foul on Devine Lunga in the dying minutes of the game
Shabanie Mine are also coming from a defeat. Chinda Boys fell 0-1 to Yadah Stars on Wednesday in a match they also felt they could, at least, have escaped with a point.
Meanwhile, after edging Chapungu on Wednesday, Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa said Ascot was his second home and is comfortable playing at the stadium.
The coach said losing to Chapungu would also have been a betrayal of their fans who perished, two years ago, on their way to Gweru to watch a league match between the two sides.
DeMbare beat Chapungu 2-1.
“Ascot is my home, remember I was once here with little-known Wha Wha and we played well and it has always been the case now with Dynamos,” he said.
“We also have to look at how we once lost our fans when they were coming here and we have them in mind, this victory is for them and we always have our departed supporters in mind.”
Mutasa said the Glamour Boys might have turned the corner after a poor start to the season.
“It is good for us as a team to win matches, we have been facing a lot of criticism as a team, but these youngsters can only improve as players if they get game time and they are doing that,” said Mutasa.
“It is possible that we might have turned the tide, but the most important thing is to keep our feet on the ground and keep on working hard, I am sure if we continue that way the results will come.
“We are just taking one game at a time, but everything is possible and we are approaching our next game hoping for the best,” said Mutasa.
Tomorrow: Herentals v FC Platinum (Rufaro), Nichrut v Chapungu (Ascot), Chicken Inn v Bulawayo City (Luveve), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Yadah (Baobab)
Sunday: Highlanders v ZPC Kariba (Barbourfields), Shabanie Mine v Caps United (Maglas), Dynamos v Harare City (Rufaro), Triangle United v Bulawayo Chiefs (Gibbo), Mutare City Rovers v Black Rhinos (Vengere).