inside sport:with MICHAEL KARIATI
WHEN some of us were growing up, we had a deep love for a team called CAPS United or Makepekepe and later on christened the Cup Kings by our English speaking radio soccer commentators.
The team was called CAPS United because at that time the Harare club represented a pharmaceutical company based along Manchester Road in Southerton, Harare, called Central African Pharmaceutical Society (CAPS).
There was also a time when popular football radio commentators Charles Mabika and Evans Mambara called them the Manchester Road Boys because they were losing the aura of Cup Kings and decided to call them using the name of the street their financial backers were based.
It was this same team that gave the country — according to my opinion — the third greatest Zimbabwean footballer of all time after George Shaya and Peter Ndlovu, a player called Stanley ‘Sinyo’ Ndunduma.
Yes, there are many who think otherwise, but I believe this 1981 and 1985 Castle Soccer Star of the Year and Zimbabwe’s Junior Sportsperson of the Year in 1981 was streets ahead of the likes of Moses Chunga and that is the reason why he won two Soccer Star of the Year awards.
I know that there are too many who do not agree especially when it comes to the Chunga comparison but this is my opinion and I’m entitled to it.
Some might argue that two soccer star of the year titles is not the barometer to judge greatness because Rodwell Chinyengetere also won two soccer star of the year awards.
However, the fact remains that Chinyengetere won the top honour twice in succession because the real Zimbabwean football stars had left either for South Africa or Europe unlike in the days of Ndunduma when the best players stayed at home.
We also argue that Joel ‘Jubillee’ Shambo was just too good but unfortunately the Headmaster did not play for the most popular football team in the country and as such does not receive due recognition.
We can also proudly say CAPS United had or has the best striking force in Zimbabwean football history and that comprising Ndnduma, Shacky Tauro, and Friday Phiri, which at one time also formed the Zimbabwe national soccer team frontline.
Over the years, CAPS United, now nicknamed the Green Machine have had their share of success and winning the league championship in 1996, 2004, 2005, and 2016, as well as producing such top stars as Stewart Murisa, Energy Murambadoro, Cephaa Chimedza, and Malawian, Joseph Kamwendo.
There is no way; however, we can run away from comparing CAPSUnited with their neighbours and fiercest rivals Dynamos, whenever Zimbabwean football is under discussion.
If my memory serves me right, Dynamos’ heaviest defeat in football came at the hands of CAPS United who in 1987 massacred the then Glamour Boys 7-0 in the Africa Day Trophy.
However, in terms of success on the field of play, Dynamos have been the most successful with 13 league titles since 1980, those coming in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986 , 1989, 1991, 1994, 1995,1997, 2007, and 2011.
Although no longer the Glamour Boys or the 7 million or the Boys in Blue of old but now Dembare, Dynamos have also been the most successful Zimbabwean club in Pan African football.
Although they reached the Caf Champions League final way back in 1998 and the semi finals 10 years later, history cannot be eroded, erased or written off, and that achievement remains a permanent feature of reference.
Over the years, Dynamos have had their share of stars, Memory Mucherahowa, Tauya Murehwa, Washington Arubi, Murape Murape and have also produced the best coaches for our Warriors — that is Sunday and Misheck Chidzambwa as well as Kalisto Pasuwa.
Misheck won the Cosafa Cup with the Warriors in 2000, Sunday took the same cup a record four times and also qualified Zimbabwe to Afcon 2004 and 2019. Pasuwa’s time came in 2017 when he also led the Warriors to Afcon 2017.
Events on the ground also show that Dembare and the Green Machine are moving in two completely different directions. Statistics and current form show that Dynamos are on their way up the ladder while CAPS United are sliding down the pecking order.
Since Twine Phiri left and the team changed hands to Farai Jere and Nhamo Tutisani, the Green Machine have lost their direction both on the administration front and on the field of play.
A succession of coaching appointment blunders and poor player and coach treatment have led to where Makepekepe are today.
The story these days is no longer about how CAPS United have performed but by how many goals they have lost with.
Right now, we seem to hate our Dembare neighbours because they are more organized than us. Since Isaiah Mupfurutsa took over, things have taken a turn for the better if not for the best for Dembare while our own leaders continue to let the team down.
Dynamos have landed a massive sponsorship — are in the quarter finals of the Chibuku Super Cup — and could possibly win the PSL Castle Lager league title when competition comes.
As things stand right now, our chances of progressing to the Chibuku quarter finals are slim while in the league we might end up fighting relegation through and through.
As we sit and watch the progress at Dembare, the truth is that we wished we were in Dynamos’ shoes and that is not a good feeling — we are crying for our beloved Caps United.
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