BY KEVIN MAPASURE
PRIDE will be part of the grand prize when Harare City coach Lloyd Chitembwe comes against his former team Caps United in a Chibuku Super Cup first round clash at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
Caps United and Harare City have established an interesting rivalry since Chitembwe dumped the Green Machine for the local authority-funded side only a few weeks ago.
While both camps deny any animosity towards each other, it has been clear since the move that each time the two teams clash, it is no longer just another Harare derby.
It is a match that draws extra motivation out of the players as they fight hard to win the battle of wits.
This afternoon, the match is set to produce fireworks as the ambitious sides tussle for the ticket to the quarter-finals stage.
The clash today is almost set to rival their collision less than a fortnight ago in intensity as well as the tense atmosphere.
Today’s match is promising to be another exciting duel between the two sides that have been chasing different ambitions in the league.
Caps United are enjoying their campaign fighting for honours at the top, while Harare City are constantly looking over their shoulders as the prospect of relegation still looms large.
City are looking for form and a cup match could just be the perfect tonic for them, while Caps United are looking to keep themselves warmed up.
Caps United coach Darlington Dodo has got a lot to prove to his employers as well as the Caps United coaches and can ill-afford any setbacks in whatever competition.
Chitembwe has tried to cool down tension by suggesting that the match against Caps United is no special clash, but just a match where he expected to see good football between two passing teams.
But he gave it away in his pre-match Press conference, suggesting that there were some elements at Caps United who were haunted by his success at the Green Machine.
“I left Caps United and I am very happy at Harare City. Caps United have moved on and I have moved on, but there are some people who are afraid of my shadow there. No one can take away my legacy at Caps United no matter how hard you try to rub it away,” he said.
But away from the fights he has with those taking him on, he expects a good match and an entertaining one for the fans.
“We know Caps United have got very good players, but they have their strengths and weaknesses just like us. We know what they will bring, but we will be a different lot from the last match with a couple of players coming back from injury,” Chitembwe said.
“So we are looking forward to an exciting match between two teams that like to play football.”
The big question will centre around whether Caps United will use the pressing system again knowing Chitembwe likes to see his charges play from the back.
In the last match, the tactic worked as Caps United suffocated City and got a goal early in the match.
Dodo has said that he has got something else in his sleeve as they seek to give Caps success in a competition they have generally struggled to make a real impact.
“We will approach it in many ways tactically and in terms of spirit and attitude. They (Harare City) can get another surprise. But we also know they will try to surprise us,” he said.
In other matches today, ZPC Kariba will look to take their league form into the cup competition when they clash with Hwange at Nyamhunga Stadium.
Ngezi Platinum Stars will be looking for a fresh start when they collide with Mushowani in their first match since the club management sacked coach Erol Akbay.