Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
DYNAMOS have temporarily shifted their focus from the titanic battle against Highlanders at Barbourfields this Sunday to lend support to rivals CAPS United who go out to defend the nation’s flag in the CAF Champions League against Egyptian giants Zamalek tonight. Makepekepe begin their maiden quest in the continent’s premier club football tournament group stages against the five-time winners.
The Green Machine have a marathon that will see them play six continental matches in the next eight weeks for a place into the quarter-finals that begin in September.
The Zimbabwe football kings are in Group B which has Zamalek, Al Ahly of Libya and Algeria’s USM Alger.
They get the ball rolling against the Egyptians who were runners-up in last year’s competition.
Makepekepe will go into the battle knowing they have support back home after their cross-town rivals sent a message of solidarity yesterday.
Dynamos president Kenny Mubaiwa said CAPS United deserved support from all Zimbabweans since they are representing the nation.
Mubaiwa, whose team had been regular campaigners in the competitions until a recent slump in form, said they understood the weight of the responsibility that is on Lloyd Chitembwe and his men’s shoulders.
“As our sole club representative in the Confederation of African Football’s inter-club premier tournament, CAPS United need the support of the entire football fraternity in Zimbabwe,” said Mubaiwa.
“Their campaign in the prestigious CAF inter-club mini-league ceases to be a CAPS United affair as they will be flying the Zimbabwe flag.
“It is now a national assignment and all patriotic Zimbabweans should rally behind. Dynamos Football Club would like to wish CAPS United a bountiful sojourn in North Africa.
“The mini-league is a perfect forum for showcasing Zimbabwe football’s imperious pedigree and we urge CAPS United to do Zimbabwe proud for the duration of the tournament. May the mini-league bring the best out of Zimbabwe football.”
Mubaiwa’s Dynamos were finalists in 1998 when they fell 4-2 to ASEC Mimosas of Cote d’Ivoire in controversial fashion.
They also reached the group stage the following year and again in 2008 when they were semi-finalists and in 2010.
But they withdrew from the competition in 2014 after the team had failed to make an impression three years in a row between 2011 and 2013.
CAPS United are playing at this level for the first time after ending an 11-year absence from continental football.
They need a bright start to set the tone for the rest of the campaign.
Makepekepe are walking with a spring in their step having qualified to the mini-league at the expense of heavyweights TP Mazembe on away goals.
Chitembwe’s men also played minnows Lioli of Lesotho and won 2-1 on aggregate