BY Kevin Mapasure
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table toppers Caps United have been dealt a major blow with captain and right-back Valentine Musarurwa set to miss their showdown with Chicken Inn in a battle of the title challengers at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
There is a tasty weekend programme in the local top-flight league with Dynamos set to travel to Zvishavane for a confrontation with champions FC Platinum on Saturday, while Highlanders’ new-found joy comes under threat with ZPC Kariba visiting Barbourfields on Sunday.
But the Caps-Gamecocks contest seems to be the pick of the crop this week with the two ambitious sides only separated by three points going into this match.
Both sides have made clear their intentions of clinching the main prize in this race and they both have been in good form although Chicken Inn were frustrated to a home draw by Black Rhinos while Caps thrashed Hwange 3-0.
Going into this match, Chicken Inn will feel this is their opportunity to, at least, catch up with Caps who have dropped just five points this season, and the Green Machine setback of losing Musarurwa, suspended after accumulating three yellow cards, will certainly get the Joey Antipas-coached side excited.
Musarurwa has not only been good defensively, but has also been excellent, particularly, with set pieces, providing five assists so far this term.
Caps coach Lloyd Chitembwe will have to shift things around, but he has got a number of options that include Kudzai Nyamupfukudza and former skipper Hardlife Zvirekwi.
Both Caps and Chicken Inn have been good defensively this term, but the Bulawayo side have been better, having conceded just three goals from nine matches, which is the best record in the league so far.
Caps, however, boast of the best strikeforce that has banged in 18 goals, although Chicken Inn are not too far off with 15 strikes.
It is a game that pits the league’s best strikeforce against the best defence, setting up what should be an intriguing contest.
Caps and the Gamecocks rarely do draws.
In their 16 matches against each other so far, they only played two draws in 2012 and 2015 when the Bulawayo side went on to win the league title.
The Green Machine enjoy a better record against their rivals, having won 10 of their clashes, while the Gamecocks won just four.
Two of the wins were achieved in Harare. Last season, Caps won in Bulawayo before Chicken Inn got their revenge in Harare.
On social media, the banter has already hit peak levels between the two sets of supporters with the Green Machine diehards promising to roast some Chicken with the coal they used in Hwange over the weekend.
The Gamecocks have, nonetheless, said they are ready for a contest against an “athletics” team, apparently in reference to the speedy duo of Phenias Bhamusi and Gabriel Nyoni in the Caps wings.
PSL weekend fixtures
Saturday: Bulawayo Chiefs v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Luveve), FC Platinum v Dynamos (Mandava), Black Rhinos v Herentals (NSS), Harare City v Hwange (Rufaro), Manica Diamonds v Yadah (Gibbo)
Sunday: Triangle v Mushowani (Gibbo), Highlanders v ZPC Kariba (Barbourfields), Chapungu v TelOne (Mandava), Caps United v Chicken Inn (NSS)