Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
IS CAPS United’s progress a sign that men are beginning to separate themselves from the boys in this year’s Castle Lager Premier Soccer League championship race?
Now five points clear at the top, the Green Machine have taken control after overcoming several hurdles in the past month under new coach Darlington Dodo.
They have managed to grind results, when it mattered most, while most of their rivals in the championship race have continued to operate in fits and starts.
FC Platinum, Chicken Inn, ZPC Kariba and Black Rhinos all dropped points again at the weekend.
Defending champions FC Platinum and ZPC Kariba cancelled each other out in a goalless draw while Chicken Inn were held to a 1-1 draw by Chapungu.
Black Rhinos were held 0-0 by Hwange.
CAPS negotiated a 2-1 win away at Trojan, where no other team had won this year, to flex their muscles.
Kelvin Ndebele, who could be a big star in the future, and Dominic Chungwa scored for the Green Machine.
Makepekepe have won four games, drawn once and lost one under Dodo whose technical team also features Taku Shariwa and Stewart Murisa.
“The resistance that we are showing, and the fighting spirit being demonstrated by the boys, is what is driving us,’’ said Dodo.
“We appreciate and we want to thank God for that. But we need to remain humble, we need to keep working and focus on our games just like the way we have been doing.
“We are just doing our business. We are not concentrating much on what is happening elsewhere.’’
CAPS United now have 47 points.
Second-placed Chicken Inn are sitting on 42 points with nine games remaining in the season.
FC Platinum also have 42 points while ZPC Kariba have 41.
Chicken Inn coach, Joey Antipas, believes the title is still up for grabs.
“Like all the teams involved in the title chase, we needed maximum points against Chapungu but the game just didn’t go our way,’’ he said.
“I would say we deserved to win it but we had problems in the final third.
“I think for now they (CAPS United) are the favourites because they are sitting at the top.
“But we are still in it, so are FC Platinum and the other teams. The race is still open because there are still nine games to be played.’’
Chicken Inn have been struggling to stamp their authority since the departure of Clive Augusto who had banged in 14 goals in 17 games before moving to Super Disk.
“Clive had been the major source of our goals this season. His scoring record in the games that he played speaks for itself.
“When you lose a top striker of his calibre, usually it becomes difficult.
“It’s one of those things that you encounter in this game but we have been trying to move on. We need to correct one or two things,” said Antipas.
It is also becoming increasingly difficult to tell at the bottom where the relegation dogfights are intensifying.
“Bottom-placed Yadah closed in when they upstaged Ngezi Platinum Stars while most of the teams involved in the survival battles dropped points.’’