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Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
BLACK Rhinos striker Lot Chiunga has challenged his teammates to shrug off their underdog tag if they are to end a five-year winless run against CAPS United when the two teams clash in a Harare derby at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
The soldiers have always struggled against the Green Machine, managing just a single point in the seven meetings between the two sides in the past five years.
Black Rhinos last won a league fixture against Makepekepe in October 2013 when Brighton Chandisaita inspired them to a 3-2 victory at the National Sports Stadium.
Since then, CAPS United have gone on to win six times in seven meetings with the other match ending in a goalless draw last season. The army side could in fact draw level on their points tally with CAPS United’s 32 should they emerge victorious on Sunday.
CAPS United are fifth on the table while Black Rhinos, with 29 points are eighth.
In their first clash this season, it was Lloyd Chitembwe’s men who prevailed 2-0. But Rhinos’ top scorer, Chiunga, who has netted six times this season, believes his side is good enough to upstage Makepekepe and break the half-a-decade jinx.
“We are a good team with some excellent players who can stand toe-to-toe with any player in the league. Not only do we have good players in our ranks, but we also have quite a number of the experienced ones.
“We are aware that we have failed to beat CAPS United in the league for the past five years, but that’s history and history belongs to history.
“We should fight for a win on Sunday to break the five-year jinx. We are Black Rhinos, not just any other team. We are a team with history and our brand is as big as that of the likes of CAPS United.
“It is our responsibility, as players to fight for that badge, to protect that name and therefore we should not let any team enjoy complete dominance on us.
“CAPS United beat us 2-0 in the first match of our duels this season and we should fight hard to collect the maximum points as well this weekend.
“Of course, CAPS United is a big team with good players, but we cannot continue to over respect the stature of teams we have to play against in the same league.
“We are our own men and we believe in ourselves.
“We know what we want at the end of the day and we have to be fighters. Though we know that the match against CAPS United will not be an easy one, we remain focused and if we play to our abilities as players and with the cohesion of a team, I have no doubt that we can win that match.
“We have beaten good teams this season including Highlanders and I see no reason why we should worry ourselves ahead of the CAPS United fixture. We want it as much as they want it.”
Both teams have strengthened in the mid-season window with Makepekepe swooping on their former midfielder Thabani Goredema and Mitchel Katsvairo while Black Rhinos have taken on board Kibaki Dhlamini and McDonald Makuwe aboard.