The Sunday Mail
HARARE CITY will be missing two key players when they step out to face a shaken Caps United in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League clash at the National Sports Stadium in Harare this afternoon.
However, unlike the situation at the Green Machine, the Sunshine Boys will not be missing players because they face criminal charges. Rather, the duo of James Jam and new kid Tanaka Ruzvidzo are sidelined through injury.
The tie will be the ninth league meeting between the two capital rivals and Harare City assistant coach Mike Madzivanyika wants his team to continue the dominance that saw them collecting four points from Makepekepe last season.
“Games between Harare City and Caps United are always interesting; remember we have players who were there, all of us the technical team we also worked at Caps United at some point.
“The players know each other very well, some stay in the same neighbourhoods … it is a game with numerous subplots.
“But we have prepared well for this encounter. I also think playing in Caf Confederations Cup helped in the gelling of the team, we are almost there in terms of combinations,” he said.
One subplot to this tie is the situation involving Caps United’s Method Mwanjali and Archford Gutu who were arrested last week for alleged murder and alleged malicious damage to property respectively, but Madzivanyika insists his team is focusing on the game only.
“We would rather not comment about the goings on in the Caps United camp. We are focusing on the game itself and not off the field events,” he said.
Harare City, who have lost only once to Makepekepe since their promotion in 2012, have beaten Makepekepe twice, Caps have won only once and five encounters have ended in a stalemate.
Madzivanyika and Mkhuphali Masuku took charge of the Sunshine Boys’ training sessions during the week while head coach Taurai Mangwiro was away in Mutare conducting a Caf C License coaching course.
Mangwiro is back in town and is expected be on the bench today.
Harare City have three points out of six, having lost their opener 0-1 in Triangle before bouncing back with a convincing 4-1 thumping of Mutare City Rovers at Rufaro.
Their best start to a season was in 2013 when they bagged six points in three matches after beating Caps United 1-0 in the opening fixture and Motor Action 4-0 on Match Day 3; the wins sandwiching a 0-2 loss to Highlanders at Barbourfields.
City went on to build on that impressive start, going on a fairytale run that could have won them the title were it not for a stubborn Caps United outfit.
Needing an outright win to clinch a historic league title, Harare City were held to a 2-2 draw on the forgettable Sunday afternoon of November 30, 2013.
From there, the rivalry has just deepened.