AFTER a revival sparked by the arrival of Taurai Mangwiro as head coach at Caps United and their entry into the last four of the Mbada Diamonds Cup, the former champions come under scrutiny tomorrow as they face Gunners at Gwanzura Stadium in Harare.
REPORT BY SPORTS EDITOR
Things have been smooth-sailing at the Green Machine since a raft of changes which saw the departure of Sean Connor and Lloyd Chitembwe and the coming in of Mangwiro and Mkhuphali Masuku.
Goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda, defenders Nyasha Mukumbi and David Sengu were fired, while striker Evans Gwekwerere finally packed his bags and left for Botswana.
The former champions have risen to position 10 on the Castle Lager standings with 31 points after managing eight wins this season.
They have a group of hungry players from the likes of Rahman Kutsanzira, Leonard Fiyado to Hardlife Zvirekwi.
In their last outing in the league, Caps managed to hold third-placed Monomotapa to a 0-0 draw at Rufaro — a commendable effort considering that Monomotapa had, the previous week, dismantled Highlanders 3-0.
In fact, Monoz have also beaten Dynamos 1-0 and Caps by the same scoreline in the reverse fixture and to pick up a point against them is a sign that things are going according to plan.
Their opponents, Gunners — champions in 2009 — have found the going tough this season and the return of Moses Chunga, who led them to that title, has not brought any miracles at all.
Sitting on 14th position with 22 points from 25 matches, Gunners will be on their way to the Northern Region Division One league if they lose and Hardbody, on the same number of points, get the better of Shabanie Mine at Ascot Stadium tomorrow.
Chunga is a good coach, who will preach professionalism at any given time and yet choose which media house he wants to talk to, and he needs to pull out everything from his bag of tricks to make Gunners survive.
From 25 matches, they have pulled up just six wins, drawn four and lost 15 times — a sure sign things are not well in their camp.
Enter Lovemore Kurotwi, a local businessman, as sponsor and the boys now have no worry about where their winning bonuses and salaries will come from.
Will they repay Kurotwi with Premiership status come 2013? Perhaps the real journey starts tomorrow afternoon.
Other factors will also come in. Blue Rangers (24 points) face Motor Action this afternoon while Hwange (25 points) are at Sakubva against Buffaloes tomorrow.
Motor Action, also champions in 2010, are a bit safer with 33 points, but if they lose and Caps win, they will drop one rung out of the top eight.
Blue Rangers have clearly stated their mission and with reports that a diamond mining company is lining up sponsorship for 2013 if they survive the chop, there is no better incentive than a stunning win against the Mighty Bulls.
In coach Partson Ndabambi, Rangers have a talkative fellow, yet a master planner who can derail any team as long as the boys keep focus.