Caps give up on title fight

They are 14 points behind second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars.

CAPS United fans have given up on their team winning the premier league title this season and shifted focus to the Chibuku Super Cup.

The Green Machine, league champions in 2016, are having a terrible season despite a bright start to the campaign.

At one point early in the season, they looked like they would run away with the title.

But one win in their last 10 matches have seen them dropping to ninth position on the log table with 25 points, a massive 16 points behind leaders Highlanders with 14 matches remaining in the season.

They are 14 points behind second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars.

For a team that showed so much fighting spirit at the start of the season, Caps United's current form is a huge disappointment to the club’s die-hard supporters, particularly their number one fan Tatenda ‘ZiSuper reGreen’ Mushonga.

He said he has lost hope that his favourite team will close the gap on the leading pack.

In fact, he fears that the poor form could plunge the team into the relegation zone, a situation they found themselves in last season when they survived the chop by a whisker.

“Caps' current form is a hard pill to swallow,” ZiSuper reGreen lamented.

“We don't know if it's fatigue or that the boys are not motivated, but the truth is it's not looking good at all. We are now banking on winning the Chibuku Super Cup to rescue our season because it seems we won't be winning the league title this year. Highlanders and Ngezi Platinum Stars are the frontrunners in the race for the league title. Of course we will give it a fight but I doubt we will be able to close the gap on any of the two teams.”

Caps United progressed to the quarterfinals of the Chibuku Super Cup after beating Hwange 1-0 in the first round match.

A draw for the quarterfinals of the knockout competition is scheduled for next week, and Caps United will certainly be paired against a tougher opponent after all the league's big guns sailed through to the next round.

Many believe Caps United's season was disturbed by the unending financial problems that continue to dog the club.

But for ZiSuper reGreen, the turning point was when the club relocated to Gweru for their home matches.

Caps United, together with five fellow Harare-based clubs, were forced to find alternative home venues following the closure of the National Sports Stadium for renovations.

Caps United are using Bata Stadium in Gweru for their home matches, and sometimes use Barbourfields in Bulawayo.

“If you look at Highlanders, they are performing well because they play most of their matches in their home city (Bulawayo). They always have a huge crowd behind them, which motivates the players in a big way. But for us, we will be at home at Bata Stadium in Gweru. It's not the same as playing in Harare. Things are not looking well for our Caps United but hopefully we will rise and shine again as soon as possible,” Zi Super reGreen said.

He said the constant shuttling between Harare and Gweru has not only affected the players. Fans are also feeling the pinch.

“It's so frustrating travelling to Gweru... playing home games away from home. It's never easy. It's draining us financially as supporters and that is why the attendance figures have dropped. The team's following has drastically dropped and that obviously impacts on the team's performance because we are the 12th man. We push the players to do extra on the field of play. The players are looking fatigued because of the travelling."

Renovations are moving at a snail pace at the National Sports Stadium, and it is unlikely that the facility will host any league matches this season.

Renovations at Rufaro Stadium had been going on well until recently when the programme got politicised. It's not clear when Harare City Council will complete the refurbishments after police last month blocked mayor Jacob Mafume from commissioning the facility.

“We are pleading with the responsible authorities to fast-track renovations of the two stadiums. We had hoped that they would take advantage of the COVID-19 break to renovate the stadiums, but nothing happened which is very frustrating for us the fans. The responsible authorities should up their game because football is suffering.”

The good news for ZiSuper reGreen's team Caps United and the other Harare based teams is that PHD Ministries and Yadah owner Walter Magaya is constructing a stadium which would be open to all premier league teams based in the capital.

Work at the facility, situated inside the Yadah Complex in WaterFalls, Harare, has already started and moving at a rapid pace with the lawn already laid while construction of the dressing rooms and the grandstands are at an advanced stage.

Meanwhile, Caps United host Black Rhinos at Bata Stadium on Sunday, hoping to arrest a five-match winless streak.

Matchday 21 fixtures

Saturday: Bulawayo Chiefs v Fc Platinum (Luveve), Sheasham v Hwange (Bata), Simba Bhora v Yadah (Baobab), Cranborne Bullets v Dynamos (Nyamhunga), Herentals v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Mandava), Manica Diamonds v Green Fuel (Gibbo)

Sunday: Highlanders v Chicken Inn (Barbourfields), Triangle v ZPC Kariba (Gibbo), Caps United v Black Rhinos (Bata)

Related Topics