SOCCER: IT’S DESSERT TIME!

2607-2-1-HARARE DERBY TEASERTHE starter was tasty, with city rivals Dynamos and Caps United settling for a 1-all draw, spiced by peach goals from Murape Murape and Gerald Phiri.

Last Sunday’s main course was not bad either; it was some middle of the road stuff and DeMbare won it 1-0 courtesy of Rodrick Mutuma’s tap-in.

It’s time for dessert!

Dynamos look like an irresistible force, as the champions get ready to troop into the National Sports Stadium to face Caps United for the third time in as many weeks.

They seem to have perfected the art of choking the Green Machine.

For long, the champions have been dismissed as a team that rarely excites, with their play a combination of long balls and hope and never methodical build-ups orchestrated by a midfielder with a skill repertoire.

Indeed, DeMbare are not easy on the eye most of the time, but then again, football, termed the world’s most beautiful game by Pele, remembers winners not the romantic.

In the first league meeting a fortnight ago, Caps United coach Taurai Mangwiro chose a combination of craft and graft.

The midfield partnership of Tendai Samanja and Moses “Supplier” Muchenje gave Makepekepe some spark going forward, but not the killer punch.

That engrossing tie ended 1-1, with Phiri’s free kick restoring parity after a Murape volley had given Dynamos the lead.

Last Sunday in the One Wallet quarter finals, the Caps United gaffer went for all grit, Samanja being partnered with Dominic Mukandi.

Mangwiro must have envisaged Samanja and Mukandi cancelling out Stephen Alimenda and Devon Chafa in the middle of the park.

It wasn’t to be.

Kallisto Pasuwa chose to bench Chafa, after a series of below-par performances, and move Ronald Chitiyo into central midfield.

Chitiyo floated everywhere and could have walked out of the NSS with a goal or two.

“We went to sleep at the most crucial time,” was how Mangwiro assessed his team’s latest defeat at the hands of a side they hate losing to the most.

But what did Caps United do before they went to sleep?

Very little.

Their fans must be getting the feeling that the Dzinochekwa Baba phrase, crafted and made popular by skipper Tapuwa Khumbuyani, does not apply to Dynamos.

As the third consecutive meeting between the two Harare rivals comes along, Mangwiro, who had to deal with a feisty but normal player bust-up at training, has serious calls to make in defence.

The injury of David Chipala (dislocated knee) and suspension of Stephen Makatuka should see Carlton Munzabwa partnering George Nyirenda at the centre of defence.

New signings Nicholas Alifandika and Honey Chimutimunzeve got their clearance letters late on Friday and should make their debut.

For Pasuwa it could be a case of “go out there and do it again, lads.”

Goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi has not looked convincing, but his confidence must be growing with each passing outing.

Augustine Mbara, who got the skipper’s armband when Murape was substituted last week, should line up alongside the underrated Themba Ndlovu at heart of defence.

With Ocean Mushure sidelined, the recalled Abel Gwatidzo auditioned at left back for most of the week, with Chitiyo lining up in front of him.

Chafa should be back in central midfield as Russel Madamombe pays the price for a poor show after being given a rare start last weekend.

 

Probable line ups:

Dynamos: Mukandi, Moyo, Ndlovu, Mbara, Gwatidzo, Alimenda, Chafa, Murape, Chitiyo, Pakamisa, Mutuma

Caps United: Muchambo, Zvirekwi, Nyirenda, Munzambwa, Pfumbidzai, Samanja, Muchenje, Alifandika, Phiri, Chungwa, Chimutimunzeve

 

Fixtures:

Dynamos v CAPS United (National Sports Stadium, SS), Chiredzi v Buffaloes (Chishamiso), Bantu Rovers v Highlanders (Barbourfields) Shabanie Mine v FC Platinum (Maglas), Hwange v Harare City (Colliery).

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