CAPS United’s thirst for another flirtation with continental football will be a source of motivation as the Green Machine launch their bid to win the Chibuku Super Cup, which comes with a $75 000 cheque as well as a ticket to the Caf Confederation Cup.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The Harare giants take on ZPC Kariba in the first round of the Chibuku Super, with the winner earning passage to the quarterfinal.
The Green Machine won the championship in 2016 and went on to represent the country in the African Champions League where they stunned watchers of the game on the continent when they knocked out seasoned campaigners like TP Mazembe, before beating Egyptian giants Zamalek in the Group stage.
And they are still reflecting on their experience and atmosphere in the African Champions League with some kind of longing.
“Playing in Africa for the first time was really a wonderful experience for the boys. That is a big motivation for them as we prepare for this tournament. Even though we lost several players after the adventure, some are still around and we have been telling them that this is another opportunity to play again in Africa. There is still a lot to play for. It is another opportunity to represent the country. They are all looking forward to the experience,” said Caps United technical director Nelson Matongorere.
Caps United coasted to an easy 3-0 victory over ZPC Kariba in the league in their first meeting, but Matongerere warned that their opponents had improved and would pose a real threat.
“They (ZPC Kariba) have been playing well of late and we will not underestimate them. We have to work hard if we are to progress,” Matongorere said.
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The Caps United boss also remained optimistic of their chances in the championship race despite being in fifth position and 19 points behind leaders FC Platinum, with eight matches before the end of the campaign.
Matongerere said they still had mathematical chances of winning the league and could still participate in Africa via the championship.
“If you have done your maths, how many games are left before the end of the season? We still have eight matches left. Then, look at the points difference between us and the log leaders, I still believe we still have mathematical chances. I think even the sixth-placed team still has a chance,” Matongorere said.
Caps United are 19 points behind log leaders FC Platinum, having played a game less than the Zvishavane-based side and look to be out of the race for the league title.
Their realistic route to Africa is the Chibuku Super Cup and they will be looking to put in everything to take the prize.
Last season, Caps United were booted out in the boardroom after their match against Shabanie Mine, which had been abandoned, was awarded to the Zvishavane side by the PSL disciplinary committee which found the Green Machine guilty of causing the abandonment of the match.
The match was abandoned when the referee was injured by a missile thrown from a bay housing Caps United fans. Having struggled for goals in the second half of the season, Caps United have been trying a number of combinations upfront.
Wisdom Mutasa has proved to be a source of goals for the team and he is likely to continue in the starting line up.
They also have Mitchell Katsvairo and John Zhuwawo in that area.