BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE MANY believe this fixture has lost its lustre over the years.
Wherever that narrative is coming from, one thing for certain is that the Dynamos and CAPS United clash remains one of the most anticipated fixtures in the local league.
It’s hard to ignore it even for the most ardent of neutrals.
And so once again for the 79th time in the league, since Independence, the arch-rivals will fight for the bragging rights to the capital city, at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
But there are always statistics and records associated with this fixture that always provide key ingredients for yet another explosive instalment of the big Harare derby.
In spite of a difficult run of form which has seen them lose their last five matches on the trot, statistics show that the Green Machine have dominated playing in this fixture in recent years.
Since breaking a seven-year jinx by finally beating their rivals in a league match in 2016 courtesy of a Dominic Chungwa solitary strike, CAPS United has won three of the last seven derbies while Dynamos have won only two.
In fact Makepekepe won the last league match between the two teams through a first half goal scored by Newman Sianchali in November 2019.
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This is a fixture that is full of goals and one has to rewind back to November 2010 to find the last instance this derby ended in a goalless draw.
Eighteen matches without a goalless draw and still counting while CAPS United have scored in 11 of their last 12 matches against Dynamos.
A defeat for CAPS United could cost coach Lloyd Chitembwe his job although the management is believed to be firmly behind the coach while Tonderai Ndiraya escaped the hangman’s noose barely a week ago.
“We have gone through a hell of a phase.
“You can’t really blame anyone within the football club but we tend to exaggerate some of these things, but it’s normal. When your mind is not there, it’s very difficult to apply yourself in football. If you are not there spiritually, it will be difficult to make it,” Chitembwe said alluding to the financial challenges bedevilling the club this season.
“People don’t have to blame these boys.
“In any case you give the responsibility to the coach. As the coach, I know my responsibility is to do with performance and results. Deep down I know why we are not winning, but going to this game the boys are buzzing and the guys are good to go,” he added.
CAPS United currently sit in 12th place with 17 points from 16 matches while Dynamos have been enjoying a better season as they occupied second position going into the weekend fixtures.
The Glamour Boys are on their longest winless run of the current season.
Ndiraya’s men have had to depend largely on their frugal defence, which has leaked just six goals in the league so far but have looked ordinary without teenage star Bill Antonio who is also set to miss the clash against CAPS United.
The coach understands the assignment ahead of him and his boys.
“For us, I think this is the biggest game of the season. Back then, before Covid-19 hit, despite the form of the two teams, it has always been an exciting fixture on our football calendar,” he said.
“So we have told them, particularly those new players, of the history associated with this fixture. We have tried to explain the importance of the fixture and what it brings to the club.
“So we hope that they will be up for it and we are preparing them enough to face the challenge. These are the sort of fixtures, which make or break a player. So we are hoping that we can work hard during that match and get a good result,” said Ndiraya.
Dynamos have failed to win in their last three matches including the encounter against Highlanders, which was abandoned with the team a goal down.
Today’s fixtures Tomorrow: CAPS Utd v Dynamos (NSS), Highlanders v Harare City (Barbourfields), Manica Diamonds v Tenax (Sakubva), Triangle v Chicken Inn (Gibbo), Whawha v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Ascot)