One fixture stands out above all the Premier Soccer League fixtures this weekend— the Harare derby between Caps United and arch-rivals Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow.
The match is one of the most eagerly awaited fixtures on the national football calendar, one that holds interests for the thousands of Harare football fans and neutral spectators all over the country.
The match is interesting in many different ways. Apart from the three points at stake, there are also bragging rights that come with this match.
Supporters around the country have been arguing about who is the better goalkeeper between Caps United’s Edmore Sibanda and Dynamos’ Washington Arubi.
That raging debate will all but be put to rest tomorrow. Tensions off the field of play are already high between the two teams, with the DeMbare family feeling betrayed by the prospects that their own son, Moses Chunga, will be out to slay them.
Caps come into this match on a high after their massacre of Shooting Stars on Thursday.
But a match against a struggling team like Shooting Stars cannot be used as a yardstick to gauge Caps’ excellence and derbies are always a different proposition.
Dynamos, on the other hand, were left frustrated after their mid-week Premiership match against Eagles ended in a 1-1 draw — putting a setback on their title charge.
Last week’s results aside, both teams will now put all their focus on tomorrow’s clash, and if the history of derbies the world over is anything to go by, then the match at Rufaro will not be short of thrills.
“It’s going to be a difficult game for both teams, but I want to make it known that we are no longer Caps United’s faithful wives. We want to remove that tag once and for all,” said Dynamos assistant coach Simon Chuma Friday.
“It’s a self-motivating game and there are no special preparations for Caps. At Dynamos, we do not underrate or overrate our opponents. We treat all the games with equal respect.”
Moses Chunga tried to be diplomatic when asked about the derby.
“I wish I was a fortune teller. The day will come, just wait,” said Chunga.
“We will just do our job. I don’t want to promise people the moon,” said the outspoken coach.
“My players don’t want to lose to Dynamos inasmuch as Dynamos players do not want to lose to Caps, so people should expect a very big match.”
As Dynamos will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing mid-week result, they will do that without the services of veteran midfielder Desmond Maringwa and Ashley Rambanapasi, who is away in Cyprus.
But in Benjamin Marere, Dynamos possess arguably one of the best players in the country, and again, he will be expected to lead the Dynamos charge from the front.
He will be expecting to pick up from where he left against Eagles, but this time he will be up against a tough defence marshalled by captain Nyasha Mukumbi and the hard-tackling Khanye Ndumiso.
“I’m not afraid of any defender. I can take on any player on a good day,” Marere told NewsDay Friday.
“We will put up a good fight to get all the three points.”
Dynamos’ only real weakness seems to be in the centre of the park, with the absence of Maringwa and Rambanapasi, an area where Caps United has an abundance of talent.
Marvel Samaneka has been brilliant for Caps this season and little-framed Pride Taferinyika has hit top form at the right time.
The goalkeepers could also prove to be the difference, with both Sibanda and Arubi playing at the very top of their game at the moment.
In addition to protecting his goal area jealously, Sibanda has also come up with some vital goals for Caps United, while Arubi has produced some top-drawer saves and single-handedly winning games for his team.
When asked if he was not afraid of the attacking Dynamos side, Sibanda said: “I played against Brazil — the best attacking team in the world and the best players you can ever think of — so I am not afraid of Dynamos.”