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Will Caps break Highlanders?

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When Caps United won the championship in 2004, they went 15 matches unbeaten until they were stopped by Highlanders in Harare.

Highlanders emerged winners at the National Sports Stadium, courtesy of goals from former captain Tapuwa Kapini, who scored a spectacular free-kick from the centre circle and converted a penalty before Zambian striker Dabwitso Nkhoma and Chipo Tsodzo added two.

Leonard Tsipa converted a spot-kick for Caps United with Cephas Chimedza and Laughter Chilembe on target.

In the first encounter in Bulawayo, the game was abandoned in the 89th minute due to crowd trouble when the scoreline was 3-3.

However, it is a different scenario this year as Highlanders are running riot in the league and are unbeaten in 16 games, while Caps United are struggling in ninth place with just 19 points.

Caps United go into the match with a new coaching department after unveiling former Monomotapa coach Taurai Mangwiro as head coach and his assistant Mkhuphali Masuku, a former Highlanders player and coach.

Former manager Sean Connor was sacked on Sunday evening after losing 3-2 to Hwange.

Mangwiro told NewsDay Sport on Tuesday that he would fancy a victory against Highlanders.

“We are playing a team that is high on confidence. They are top of the log table and are still unbeaten, but we have been telling the players that they should have that winning mentality because winning against Highlanders will bring back the confidence in the team,” he said.

Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu yesterday said they were preparing hard for the match, but were not reading much into the new Caps United technical team.

“We are preparing hard for the match against Caps United. It will be good for us to go another game unbeaten, but we are taking the game very seriously. It is going to be an explosive encounter because every team now wants to be the first to beat us,” he said.

“We do not dwell much into history. This is modern football. Caps United are one of the strongest teams in the league and when the season started they were serious contenders for the championship.

“The better team of the day will win the match. We have some players with the national team in Zambia. It is always good because when they come back they will even be more confident.”

Goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, captain Innocent Mapuranga, Bruce Kangwa and Peter Moyo were part of the national team that was due to play Zambia in an international friendly last
night.

Highlanders welcome back Mthulisi Maphosa, Graham Ncube and Atlast Musasa from suspension, while the Caps United trio of Tawanda Munyanduri, Washington Pakamisa and Evans Gwekwerere will also be back.

Highlanders have been dominating Caps United over the years, so it remains to be seen if they will carry on with that record.

Last year under the guidance of Masuku, Highlanders beat Caps United 1-0 at Barbourfields Stadium, but were on the receiving end in Harare, losing 3-1.

Caps United completed a double, winning the league in 2004-2005, while Highlanders last won the championship in 2006.

In 2006, Highlanders beat Caps United 1-0 before Caps United prevailed 2-1 in Harare.

Former Warriors and Highlanders midfielder Johannes Ngodzo scored as Highlanders beat Caps United 1-0 in 2008 before Caps United thumped Highlanders 4-1 in Harare.

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