RODERICK Mutuma will have to earn the right to play first team football again after returning to the fold following a self-imposed three-week hiatus, Caps United coach Mark Harrison has said.
BY SAKHELENI NXUMALO
Harrison told journalists after his charges’ 2-0 win over Tsholotsho at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday that he will not let the controversial forward walk back into the team, but his inclusion must be on merit.
“He has been missing for three weeks and there was no way that I could have involved him in today’s (Sunday) game. Maybe next week, I don’t know. I will have to see how it goes in the week, but he has got to earn the right to play again,” Harrison said.
The British coach added that Mutuma’s availability would provide a lot of options for the Green Machine’s technical team as he would reduce the workload for veteran forward Leonard Tsipa, who scored the second goal against Tsholotsho.
“Tsipa is a fantastic player and a great example to the youngsters, but he is never going to play every game for me because his legs won’t allow that.
“We have got Mutuma back now and we have to get him fit to take a little bit of the load off Tsipa.
“I am not knocking him (Mutuma) for walking out as it was because of the situation at the club, but now that he has come back, everyone has welcomed him he has to work for his place considering that we have won our last two games,” Harrison said.
The former Black Leopards coach said his players must now conduct themselves professionally following the return of order brought about by the taking over of the team’s ownership by businessman Farai Jere.
“The order that has been prevailing in the past week on and off the field has been tremendous and it makes a massive difference for us,” Harrison said.
“Now we can demand more from the players because before it was a little bit lawless as we were not getting paid and it is hard to make players do things when they are not being paid.”
Caps United moved into sixth position with 19 points to their credit following their victory over Tsholotsho.
The Green Machine put up a convincing display that was characterised by some very good movement off the ball with first half substitute Godknows Mangani outstanding.
Skipper Hardlife Zvirekwi got the first goal for Caps United with a spectacular half-volleyed effort.
After Week 12, Chicken Inn maintained top spot, but with a four-point difference from defending champions Dynamos, who could only manage a 1-1 draw against Triangle.
They have 26 points while Dynamos are on 22.
After last week’s loss to Hwange, the Gamecocks bounced back in fine fashion to pummel Buffaloes 3-0 on Saturday at Luveve.
Dynamos needed a last-gasp goal from Ocean Mushure to pick up a point from Triangle in the 1-1 draw at the National Sports Stadium, but that did little to take the pressure off coach David Mandigora. When you are suddenly surrounded by bouncers before and after the match, you certainly know things are not in order, worse when you drop points at home against Tsholotsho.
The next trip is to ZPC Kariba this Saturday before a clash with Highlanders at Rufaro Stadium on Week 14 — a fixture they have not had problems in winning and one that can save Mandigora’s job.
Triangle dropped to third with 21 points after managing to arrest a decline that has seen them lose to FC Platinum (3-2) and 2-1 to How Mine in the last two weeks, and losing three in a row would have been too much for coach Kelvin Kaindu.
How Mine made it two wins from two as well, to move into fourth place with 21 points after beating ZPC Kariba 2-1 at Luveve on Sunday while Chapungu, despite a 2-0 loss to Harare City on Friday, remained in fifth place, also with 21 points.
Highlanders managed a 2-2 draw against FC Platinum at Mandava to move to 18 points and seventh place. But the result counts best for FC Platinum who have now picked up seven points from their last three matches to sit on eighth position with 17 points, the same as inconsistent Harare City.
Saturday: ZPC Kariba vs Dynamos (Nyamhunga), Chapungu vs Chicken Inn (Ascot)
Sunday: Highlanders vs How Mine (Barbourfields), Hwange vs FC Platinum (Colliery), Triangle vs Tsholotsho (Gibbo), Buffaloes vs WhaWha (Sakubva), Caps United vs Flame Lily (National Sports Stadium), Dongo Sawmill vs Harare City (Vhengere)