After dropping two points in the opening fixture of the season, Caps United return home to face Chicken Inn at Gwanzura Stadium tomorrow, hoping to send a warning shot to the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL)’s early pacesetters.
Leaders Highlanders, second and third-placed Dynamos and FC Platinum respectively, are inactive this weekend and the Green Machine, together with Monomotapa who face Harare City today in Mutare, have the chance to make headway in the standings.
Caps were on the market in pre-season, bringing in former Highlanders playmaker Rahman Kutsanzira and former Hwange and Warriors defender Obert Moyo, Darryl Nyandoro and Chris Samakwere, among others, and look the strongest team in the league.
Last week, they drew 0-0 against Shabanie Mine where coach Sean Connor decried the poor state of Maglas Stadium, but Gwanzura is in a worse off condition with touchlines being drawn using mealie-meal.
Adam Ndlovu took charge of Chicken Inn three games before the end of last season and managed seven points, which pushed his team into this year’s edition of the BancABC top eight. They will be looking for a win in their second match of the season.
Today, Monomotapa host newboys Harare City at Rufaro in a game where, if they collect maximum points, they will move to the summit of the standings. Leaders before this match, Highlanders, are inactive as their opponents FC Platinum are in Sudan for a Champions League clash.
Quelaton welcome Shabanie Mine to Luveve Stadium while Gunners, the 2009 champions, face 2010 champions Motor Action, both looking for their first wins of the season after opening with draws.
PSL newboys Hardbody host Black Mambas at Ascot Stadium on Sunday in a contest where both teams will be seeking to shake off last weekend’s woeful start.
Hardbody last weekend lost 3-0 to Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium in their opening league match while Mambas went down 3-1 to FC Platinum at home.
Hardbody coach Tavaka Gumbo reckoned the Dynamos loss inspired them to face any task.
“We are well-prepared for our match against Black Mambas, so we are not even thinking of losing.
The Dynamos loss geared us up for any team. The good thing is we are playing at home which is obviously an advantage to us. They (Mambas) would want to win or at least draw, but we also have our own thoughts,” said Gumbo.
The busmen will be missing the services of inspirational captain Callisto Maheya who was sent off in the Dynamos match.
“Of course, the absence of Maheya will affect us, but we do not have to mourn over that. What cost us against Dynamos last week was stage fright, but I do not think that would be an issue on Sunday since my players have warmed up to huge crowds,” Gumbo said.
In the absence of Maheya, former FC Platinum striker Aleck Marime will be burdened with the huge task of scoring goals.
Mambas coach John Ncube said his team could not afford two consecutive losses.
“We have been working on the shortcomings we noted last week. We conceded unnecessary goals when we let FC Platinum get the win without sweating for it. We will not allow that to happen on Sunday. The good thing is I watched Hardbody playing against Dynamos, so I now know something about them, but that does not mean we are underrating them. This is the time where we have to start winning,” said Ncube.
Today: Monomotapa v Harare City (Rufaro), Quelaton v Shabanie Mine (Luveve), Gunners v Motor Action (Gwanzura)
Tomorrow: Caps United v Chicken Inn (Gwanzura)
Sunday: Hardbody v Black Mambas (Ascot)