GISHON Ntini says the rising confidence in the Triangle dressing room makes them fully-equipped to enhance their chances of surviving relegation by ending Caps’ recent fine home form when the two teams meet in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
The match is one of the many big midweek games lined up today.
Dynamos have an awkward assignment in Hwange while third-placed Highlanders host fourth-placed FC Platinum in a match that can easily go either way.
Defending champions Dynamos made the trip to Hwange by air this morning, but without two of their consistent players in Patson Jaure and Russel Madamombe, who are suspended after accumulating three yellow cards.
Second-placed Harare City have what appears an easy task against a stuttering Shabanie Mine at Rufaro, which could be a chance for the City Fathers to reclaim the top position in the event that a result at the Colliery goes in Hwange’s favour.
With Dynamos playing away from Harare, there is no doubt that much of football attention in the capital this afternoon will fall on the match at the National Sports Stadium where the home side have been in fantastic form in recent weeks.
Caps last tasted defeat at the giant sporting facility on May 19 against Dynamos, the same side that would end the Green Machine’s proud unbeaten league record of 10 matches two weeks ago.
Since that defeat to their city nemesis, Caps won all the five league matches that followed at the NSS.
Having witnessed Caps United falling to Dynamos in the last Harare derby, Ntini sees no reason why Triangle cannot also end the Taurai Mangwiro-coached team’s successful home record.
“I don’t think it’s the stadium that plays soccer, but Caps United players. True that they have been doing well at home, but we will be up against Caps United, and not the National Sports Stadium so we have equal chances of winning the match,” said Ntini, who has a strong Caps United DNA having coached the team before.
Statistics are not stacked solely against the visitors in this encounter though, because Triangle have been doing very well recently especially when playing away.
In their last nine matches, Triangle have collected 17 points, 10 of those picked up on the road. This has seen the team moving to 10th position on the log table with 27 points. History has shown that a team that collects 36 points will be safe from relegation, and with 27 points still to fight for before the season concludes, Triangle should be able to survive.
The reverse fixture between the two sides saw Caps United claiming all the three points despite the home side dominating the contest.
Ntini, who is with no doubt still emotionally attached to Caps United having risen through the ranks to become the club coach some few years ago, said the Green Machine should not expect any favours from him.
What makes the sub-plots even more interesting is that Triangle’s backbone is made up of former Caps United players.
David Sengu and Limited Chikafa were at one time skippers at Caps United, while Courage Denias, Silas Chihota and Tineyi Meda also had stints with the Harare club.
Meda has been ruled out of the match with an injury while Sengu will have to pass a late fitness test.
“They should not expect any favours from me or from those players, it would be business as usual. The best team of the day will win,” Ntini said.
Today: Harare City v Shabanie Mine (Rufaro), Motor Action v Chicken Inn (Motor Action Stadium), Buffaloes v How Mine (Sakubva), CAPS United v Triangle (National Sports Stadium) Hwange v Dynamos (Colliery), Highlanders v FC Platinum (Barbourfields).
Tomorrow: Monomotapa v Tripple B (Gwanzura)