The Sunday Mail
Makomborero Mutimukulu Sports Editor
A STORM over a woman who earns her keep from dancing without underwear trended as much as the Harare Derby this past week.
However, today there is only one game in town although its villain may walk back to the dressing room feeling like he is not wearing the stuff that Zodwa Wabantu seems allergic too.
The Harare Derby always produces heroes as well as villains and the 40th instalment set for the National Sports Stadium this afternoon promises to be no different.
Players who shine in this affair are instant heroes. Edmore Sibanda earned the nickname “ZiKeeper” after saving an Edward Sadomba penalty during one fiery encounter.
The Caps United fans unleashed the song “ZiKeeper Redu” to celebrate the arrival of a new hero. But when Sibanda produced a howler in the next instalment his world turned in a flash.
Battle of Attrition
The DeMbare fans dropped their own song – “ZiKeeper Redu Tese” – uggesting that the goalie was as good as a Glamour Boy.
This one is always high on emotions and players who fail to come to the party in the Harare Derby are harshly accused of being pretenders, lads who are intent on stealing a living as footballers.
Once upon a time – on April 12, 2009 – from the green corner there was one Oscar Machapa while Sam Mutenheri was found at the blue end of this battle of attrition.
Machapa took Mutenheri to hell and back, nutmegging him like nobody’s business in front of an almost full Rufaro Stadium. Mutenheri looked in need of some counselling after Machapa was done with him and Makepekepe had won 2-0 courtesy of a Nyasha Mushekwi brace.
Machapa catapulted himself to iconic levels while that horrible outing marked the beginning of the end of poor Mutenheri.
Who will be the hero this afternoon?
And the villain?
Either side can win this clash.
However, it’s also possible that neither side would have won it by the time the referee blows to end this highly anticipated game. The form book favours DeMbare.
The supposedly away side steps up to battle having won their last six matches, scoring 13 times and conceding just twice. But this game makes a mockery of pre-match odds; the team that wants it more on the day usually walks away with it.
Makepekepe look set to send Stephen Makatuka to do a job on Ntouba Epoupa, the DeMbare striker who has terrorised defenders ever since he arrived from Cameroon.
Makatuka is relishing the power duel. “I have heard and read about Epoupa but, honestly speaking, I haven’t seen him play. Even his face, I can’t recognise it. But I am sure we will get to know each other better on the field of play.
“The derby comes at a time when Dynamos are in good form and us Caps we are also on the up. We are not challenging for the title, so we do not have any pressure. I think the pressure is on them (Dynamos),” said the defender who rejoined Makepekepe during the mid-season transfer window.
Epoupa had his head turned by a deadline day offer from South African outfit Ajax Capetown during the course of the week but has been looking pumped up ever since DeMbare went into camp on Friday evening.
The deal to the Urban Warriors looks set to be revived at the start of next year and Ntouba’s camp has urged their man to keep the suitors drooling. And striker intends to do just that.
“I don’t want to talk too much but I am ready for the game. I am told it’s a big game and big players rise up to the occasion in big games,” said the Cameroonian.