Caps United captain Edmore “Zikeeper” Sibanda said beating Highlanders in the BancABC Sup8r quarter-finals match would be enough solace for the defeat they suffered to bitter rivals Dynamos last Sunday.
The two teams clash at Baghdad Stadium in Kwekwe.
While all the quarter-final matches look captivating the battle between Caps United and Highlanders clearly stands out.
This will be the second time the two teams clash this year after their first meeting in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match last month Highlanders won, courtesy of a last-grasp Gilbert Banda header.
The two teams are also coming into the match under pressure from their sets of fans after recording morale-shattering defeats in their last league matches last Sunday.
Highlanders were beaten at home by Hwange while Caps United suffered a last-minute heartbreak against perennial nemesis Dynamos to lose the Harare derby bragging rights.
“Zikeeper” yesterday admitted to NewsDay Sport that the horror of that heartbreak is still haunting his team and said the only way to exorcise it would be by beating Highlanders.
He also admitted his team is under pressure to appease fans who are still reeling from the shock defeat to Dynamos.
The heavily-built goalkeeper wept uncontrollably after the final whistle at the National Sports Stadium following Tawanda Muparati’s last minute priceless goal.
“This is the match we have to win at all cost following what happened last week,” said Sibanda.
“Some of the players are still feeling low after that game and the only way we can pick up is by beating Highlanders. We have to put that horror behind us,” added Sibanda.
The pressure on Highlanders is different.
Bosso has failed to find their rhythm in the last four matches having lost to Motor Action and FC Platinum before beating Zimbabwe Saints, but then again falling to Hwange last week.
“We have not performed to our usual standards in the last few weeks. We have to be consistent,” said Banda, the Highlanders captain.
“We know Caps United will come into the match looking for revenge but we are prepared for them. We will play our normal game and hopefully we will win the match,” added the dreadlocked defender.
Bosso will go into the battle without their first choice goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda who will be away with the Young Warriors while Caps United will miss the services of David Rediyoni who remains sidelined with an ankle problem.
Gunners and Shabanie Mine kick-start this year’s edition of the tournament with a date at Ascot Stadium tomorrow in another quarter-final match while defending champions Dynamos will start their defence of the cup with a tricky fixture against bogey side Hwange at Gibbo Stadium in Chiredzi on Sunday next week.
The winner between Dynamos and Hwange will meet the winner of the Gunners-Shabanie match in the semi-final.
This year’s winner is assured of a cool
$50 000 while the runner-up will walk away with a $20 000 cheque. The semi-finalists will get $10 000 each.
With the sponsor BancABC having raised the stakes in this year’s tournament, the competition promises some fireworks.