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Caps turn to Zamalek

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ZIMBABWEAN champions Caps United have shifted focus to their opening Group B African Champions League clash against five-time champions Zamalek in Egypt next Friday following the postponement of the Harare derby against Dynamos.

BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA

Abbas Amidu
Abbas Amidu

Their fixture against Dynamos had been scheduled for Sunday, but was on Wednesday cancelled by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) due to the unavailability of a suitable venue.

Rufaro Stadium, Dynamos’ home ground, is closed for renovations, while the National Sports Stadium has been booked by Nigerian pastor, Chris Oyakhilome, for his church service on the same day the match was supposed to be played.

Dynamos had been hoping the city council would have completed the refurbishments at Rufaro, but it later emerged they would not be able to beat the time, thus forcing the postponement of the match.

While Dynamos had been hoping to build on the momentum after edging Yadah Stars 1-0, their rivals Caps United, who are fighting on two fronts, had been looking to use the Harare derby to measure their preparedness for the grand stage of the Champions League.

The Green Machine are scheduled to leave for Egypt on Wednesday ahead of the Friday encounter.

Caps United assistant coach Tostao Kwashi, however, said yesterday the postponement of the derby was advantageous as players would have time to freshen up and recover from knocks.

“To us, the postponement of the Harare derby is a blessing in disguise. The Harare derby is not an ordinary derby.
There was the risk of players getting injured with an important match coming up. So we are actually happy that it has been postponed. It’s important for the team because players with knocks will have time to recover, heal and freshen up,” said Kwashi.

The Caps United coach also said they would draw confidence from their victory over TP Mazembe, whom they booted out of the lucrative tournament in the first round.

“Zamalek are giants in African football like TP Mazembe. We respect them. But we take inspiration from our giant-killing act of Mazembe. We get inspiration from Mamelodi Sundowns and Leicester City FC, who did wonders defying all odds. We get strength from God our leader to keep guiding us. David wasn’t even part of the army or a soldier, but through God’s grace he conquered Goliath. We thank the Almighty for guiding us through all our trials and tests,” Kwashi said.

The Green Machine are set to beef up their attack with a foreign flavour. They are expecting three players from Ghana and Nigeria. Ghanaian striker Richard Addai, who played for Dreams FC in the 2016 season, and compatriot Wilson Andoh are scheduled to arrive in Harare for talks along with Nigerian striker Abasirim Chidiebere.

Addai is a proven goalscorer having netted 14 goals last season for Dunkwa FC, before his switch to Dreams FC, while Andoh is also highly regarded, having played for King Faisal in Ghana and Rivers in the Nigerian top-flight.

Local football agent George Deda has facilitated the players’ trials with the Zimbabwean champions.

Caps United’s attack has been a major concern with their strikers having been struggling for goals until their recent 4-0 massacre of Chapungu.

The Green Machine are reportedly looking for big, powerful and imposing players, as they ready for the Champions League group stage and the players from Ghana and Nigeria are said to possess those traits.

However, should the players be signed, they won’t play a part against Zamalek as they would need to regularise their papers first.

This means coach Lloyd Chitembwe will have to look up to Leonard Tsipa, who was recently registered for the tournament, as well as Abbas Amidu and Dominic Chungwa for goals.

Caps United were placed in Group B with five-time African champions Zamalek of Egypt, Algeria’s USM Alger and Al Ahli Tripoli of Libya, where the top two sides qualify for the quarter-finals.

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