The hugely anticipated Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) 68th edition of the Harare derby between nemesis Caps United and Dynamos is still a whole day away but a big fight — in literal terms — has already erupted ahead of the blockbuster clash at the National Sports Stadium (NSS) tomorrow.
Temperatures have clearly hit a boiling point with reports Dynamos striker Murape Murape almost manhandled Caps United coach Maxwell Takaendesa Jongwe during a training session at the giant complex on Thursday afternoon.
The two antagonists have been sharing the NSS’s two arenas for training sessions this week.
Jongwe yesterday confirmed the “nasty incident” which he said happened in front of players and officials from both camps and workers at the NSS.
The Dynamos camp however downplayed the incident.
“We had an argument over who should be using the main arena,” said Jongwe.
“Every Thursday we train at the main arena, but when we arrived we were shocked to find Dynamos using the facility instead of using the B arena. When some of my colleagues went to the offices to verify who should be using the main arena on the day, the guy (Murape) started to scream at me. He scaled the fence towards me, shouting all sorts of unprintable words. I never said a word, neither did I greet him. If anything, the player abused me and the worst part is it happened in front of his coach. Masimba Dinyero was present when it all happened.”
Caps United assistant coach Alois Bunjira added: “He (Murape) tried to shout at me also, but I walked away because I can’t reduce myself to such a level. For a player to do that is very wrong especially in front of his coach. It was unbelievable. The guy (Murape) took the keys from the security guys and locked the gates, but after we had verified (who should train in the main arena) we were eventually allowed to train inside the stadium,” said Bunjira.
Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa yesterday again refused to entertain questions from the media, instead delegating the responsibility to his second-in-command, Tichaona Diya.
“It was not that nasty. Murape was just kidding around. He was just being Murape as people know him,” defended Diya.
“I didn’t even see the whole incident, but if the Caps United coach felt he was abused, we are very sorry about that,” added Diya.
Meanwhile, Dynamos have completed the signing of Nathan Ziwini from fellow Premiership side Gunners. Diya confirmed the skilful midfielder had signed a three-year deal with the Harare giants.
Ziwini, who has been training with Dynamos since the start of this week, might be unleashed into the fray in the absence of suspended Denver Mukamba.
“We have a situation where a player like Archie (Gutu) could leave the club at any minute so those are the gaps we want to cover. He (Ziwini) and Wonder Sithole have been registered with the PSL,” Diya added.
He also revealed his club were close to sealing a deal with former striker Cuthbert Malajila as they sought to strengthen their blunt attack with a trusted gunman.
“We are just waiting for communication from his club in Tunisia. He is one player we are desperate to sign before the transfer window closes next week,” said Diya.
Malajila had been training with Dynamos since his return from Libya where he had been loaned by his Tunisian club.
Dynamos are in third position in the log standings with 26 points from 16 games and a win against Caps United would not just keep them apace of the leading pair of FC Platinum (33 points) and Motor Action (31 points), but would also guarantee them city bragging rights.
Caps United desperately need to win the match for two crucial reasons.
They need to win the three precious points to rescue themselves from the unfamiliar seventh position, but most importantly, the win would be an antidote to the club’s battered image.
Caps supporters caused the abandonment of a match against Gunners last Sunday when they were trailing 2-0.