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Derby prettily poised

The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match usually sizzles over bragging rights in the capital and of course the three points. For the Green Machine this time around, it is about survival while for DeMbare it's about silverware.

With Caps United seemingly sinking and Dynamos surging, tomorrow's edition of the big Harare derby is perfectly poised to produce sparks.

The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match usually sizzles over bragging rights in the capital and of course the three points. For the Green Machine this time around, it is about survival while for DeMbare it's about silverware.

Caps are precariously positioned too close to the drop zone for comfort while Dynamos are prettily positioned to tussle for the title.

The Lloyd Chitembwe-coached side are just three points above the danger zone and ill afford anything less than three points going into the match.

DeMbare are nine points behind table toppers Ngezi Platinum Stars which gap is likely to be further slashed by three points after the conclusion of the issue behind the abandonment of their match against Highlanders.

As they play catch up and also smarting from a defeat last week, they too would be disappointed to come out with anything less than maximum points.

Over the last few years some of the derbies have been played out with both teams in the mid table zone of irrelevance, but this time on, it’s about the championship on one end or avoiding the chop on the other.

Caps United captain Tonderai Mateyaunga is upbeat about this derby and is hopeful it would help bring about change to his team's fortunes.

The big Harare derby match marks the return of topflight football to the capital since June when the National Sports Stadium was closed.

Homeless following the closure of the country’s national stadium for renovations in June, Caps United and Dynamos, and six other Harare-based clubs were forced to seek sanctuary elsewhere across the country.

For some reason, United struggled to adjust to the new reality as their form dipped horribly.

Mateyaunga believes the return to the familiar surroundings of the National Sports Stadium could help reinvigorate his side.

“Playing the Harare derby has always been something that I personally cherish especially having played for both sides. But right now, I'm at Caps United so what I just want is to win on Sunday. In order for us to win, we have to apply ourselves the way the coaches have told us,” Mateyaunga said.

United are arriving back in Harare in a run of eight winless matches which has seen them not only slip out of the title matrix but sliding into the relegation equation.

Their last victory was a 2-0 win over GreenFuel in mid July, their only success in the last 13 matches.

Mateyaunga explained how they plan to harness the energy off their usually noisy home supporters to produce a performance full of intensity as they hope to “suffocate Dynamos with good football.”

“We know we have had a very bad patch, but what we are going to do is to try and change that when we face Dynamos,” the former Dynamos goalkeeper said.

“It's good that we are back in Harare and we are going to play at home at the National Sports Stadium even though we are away on this game. It's also our homeground and we started our season well there. We hope when we face Dynamos, we will suffocate them with good football.”

“We want to urge all our fans to come and support us in this one so that we get the extra energy that we need for them to go back home smiling,” Mateyaunga said.

The goalkeeper dismissed suggestions that pressure is mounting on his coach Chitembwe and the rest of the squad following a run of poor results that have seen the team  dropping to eleventh position with 27 points, just three clear of Yadah who occupy the last relegation slot.

Caps United are sweating over the availability of winger Phineas Bamusi for tomorrow's match after he picked an injury in the 2-1 defeat against Fc Platinum a fortnight ago. He went on to miss last week's 1-1 draw against Chicken Inn.

The forward will have to pass a late fitness test to feature in the blockbuster encounter.

For Dynamos, they welcome back goalkeeper Prince Tafiremutsa and midfielder Tanaka Shandirwa, as they also look to bounce back to winning ways.

The duo missed the team's surprise 2-1 loss away to Bulawayo Chiefs last week, a defeat that ended DeMbare's six match unbeaten run.

Coach Genesis Mangombe whose title chasing side dropped to fifth position following the defeat, has hinted throwing Tafiremutsa and Shandirwa straight back into the starting eleven tomorrow.

Defender Donald Dzvinyai is still out although he has started light training.

Dynamos won the reverse fixture convincingly at the same venue and will be looking for a rare double over their prime nemesis.

Matchday 24 fixtures

Today: GreenFuel v Simba Stars (GreenFuel Arena), Fc Platinum v Herentals (Mandava), Chicken Inn v Triangle (Luveve), Yadah v Bulawayo Chiefs (Baobab), Zpc Kariba (Nyamhunga), Sheasham v Cranborne (Bata)

Tomorrow: Black Rhinos v Manica Diamonds (Bata), Hwange v Highlanders (Colliery), Dynamos v Caps United (National Sports Stadium)

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