Dynamos’ Martin Vengesai says he is relishing the clash against perennial rivals Caps United when the much-awaited 68th edition of the Harare derby explodes into life at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
The speedy forward was given his marching orders harshly by referee Pascal Zata in last month’s Harare derby for a tackle on Caps United’s defender Arnold Chivheya. He subsequently missed Dynamos’ back-to-back league matches against Chicken Inn.
Earlier in that game, the 24 year-old had been booked for an infringement on Douglas Walaza in a tussle that looked more like the defender had tumbled on the striker than fouled.
However, as fate would have it, Vengesai would return to action against the same opposition this weekend and has promised to give it all.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was shown the second yellow card in that game but that happens in football. I cannot continue to cry over the past. I had a tough time in the last two weeks watching my teammates playing, but it’s over now, I’m eligible to play,” said the former Mashoko High School student.
“I have been doing my best at training and if selected in the final 18 I will do my best. Everyone in the team has been fighting for a jersey and from the way people are working at training, we have good chances of winning the match on Sunday,” added Vengesai.
Dynamos’ underrated midfielder, Tawanda Muparati, scored a last-minute goal to claim the city bragging rights and Vengesai was anticipating a backlash from their erstwhile nemesis.
“Caps United are a wounded side after losing the first match against us and would want to beat us at any cost to restore their lost pride. There has been a lot of talk about problems at Caps United but we will not get carried away by those reports. We will just focus on our team, remember this is a derby and a team that will rise to the occasion will win the match.”
The last edition of the Harare derby failed to live to its high billing. Save for the last-minute Muparati goal, the match could have gone down as the most disappointing Harare derby witnessed in recent years.
Only veteran Murape Murape showed he was equal to the task with a memorable performance while the rest of the players from both sides buckled under the pressure associated with this famous clash.
“For most of us it was the first time to play in a derby so it was expected but there should be no reason why the Sunday match could not be exciting. A lot is at stake here,” said Vengesai.
Dynamos will miss the services of Denver Mukamba who was red-carded last Saturday in a match against Chicken Inn while gritty midfielder Milton Makopa sat out training yesterday with a toothache.
The Harare giants would however welcome Archford Gutu who missed the team’s last match against Chicken Inn due to injury while Guthrie Zhokinyi is expected to make his first appearance since renewing his contract last week.
Across town, Caps United’s house was on fire.
The club was sweating over the non-availability of first choice defenders David Sengu and Edmore Chafungamoyo who were both red-carded in an aborted match against Gunners last Sunday.
The Green Machine has however brought in former Monomotapa defender Asani Nhongo and Tapiwa Kumbuyani from Blue Ribbon as replacements.
Caps United management was also becoming increasingly agitated by the behaviour of fans who caused the abandonment of their match over the weekend.