The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Caps Set Bulawayo Base

THE CAPS United bandwagon rolled into Bulawayo yesterday - exactly three days before their historic City of Kings showdown against bitter rivals Dynamos -- bullish of finally ending a wretched run against their biggest rivals. Although the sponsors of the Mbada Diamonds Cup had arranged for both CAPS United and Dynamos to leave their Harare base tomorrow, the Green Machine decided to travel two days earlier than scheduled.

CAPS United used the same strategy when they travelled to Chiredzi three days before the match, and after they completed a comfortable 2-0 victory over Buffaloes at Gibbo, the club's directors feel a longer stay in the City of Kings will be beneficial to the team.

"It's all about giving these boys a chance to focus on nothing but that one game against Dynamos on Sunday because when they are here in Harare, they have a number of domestic issues that tend to distract their attention," said club vice-president, Farai Jere.

"We feel it will be good for the players and their technical team to feel at home in Bulawayo and to train at Barbourfields as much as they can in their preparations for this very big game.

"Everything is at stake for us in this game because it means a lot to the club, the fans and all those who believe in us and a win will be a huge boost for us and that is why we are investing everything into it.

"We know what we are up against and it won't be easy but we are confident and we feel we have provided the players and their coaches with a conducive environment for them to make one very big statement on Sunday."

CAPS United will not return to Harare until Thursday next week after their midweek league match against Chicken Inn.

The Green Machine cancelled their weekly media briefing yesterday as they went on the road and they arrived in Bulawayo bullish they can finally enjoy success over their bitter rivals.

Steely defender, Tawanda "Rambo" Munyanduri, who has been one of their best players this season, had to shrug off an injury to make the travelling party that also included veteran forward, Shingi Kawondera.

Munyanduri said they will play the game for their coach Taurai Mangwiro, whose banishment from the game last week after being swept away by the Asiagate storm, left the entire team in tears.

It had a huge effect on the players, coming as it did on the eve of the match against Motor Action when Mangwiro had already announced his team for the match, and CAPS United never recovered as they slumped to a 0-2 defeat.

"Past is past, and this is now a cup game. I think this time we will emerge winners," said Munyanduri. "Everyone is now geared up and focused. We want to win and dedicate the cup to coach Mangwiro."

Mangwiro presided over the reverse league match against Dynamos and lost 0-3 as the Glamour Boys ran riot and drowned CAPS United with goals from Guthrie Zhokinyi, Cliff Sekete and Farai Mupasiri.

In the first round, in July, CAPS United then under the tutelage of Northern Irishman Sean Connor went down 1-0.

It was a match which CAPS United dominated, did everything right but were unlucky when a poor clearance by defender Douglas Walaza fell perfectly for Tawanda Muparati to bury his effort home with aplomb.

However, Makepekepe players have refused to believe that it's their fate to lose, when they face Dynamos, and want to make a big statement on Sunday.

Midfielder Hardlife Zvirekwi has been the team's best player in recent months and believes CAPS United need a victory against Dynamos to finally convince people they are on the right track back to where this club belongs.

"It is going to be an interesting match coming from two defeats against the same team.

"We will be seeking revenge and to keep our pride as CAPS United. It is high time we lift the CAPS United brand.

"We are going all the way to the final and it is another opportunity to play in Africa.

"We will do everything we can to win this Cup. This time we are fully prepared for this one.

"We had plans to finish in the top eight but failed so in this Cup we still have everything to play," said Zvirekwi.

The former Gunners man, who has been an oasis of hope since joining the club, was outstanding in the victory over Buffaloes in the quarter-finals at Gibo.

The Green Machine will be boosted by the return of Kawondera and badly need his experience in this big tie.

Kawondera has missed two league matches against Gunners and Motor Action as he struggled with an injury.

For midfielder Rahman Kutsanzira, this feels like a homecoming show as he returns to Barbourfields where he made his name in the colours of Highlanders before coming to the capital for greener pastures.

It's fair to say that Kutsanzira hasn't exploded as much as the fans would have been hoping for this season but, if he can do very well against Dynamos and prove to be the match winner, then he would have done his part for the season.

Kutsanzira, who is yet to celebrate a victory against the Glamour Boys in CAPS United colours, believes this is the time to make things right.

"This time around we should win. We have been working hard and they cannot beat us three times in one season.

"I would be at home, there is no pressure, I have the advantage of the supporters and I am sure they will come out in their numbers to support us," he said.

The former Highlanders star still remembers his last match in Bulawayo this season when he missed a penalty in a league match against relegated Quelaton.

The spot kick could have powered his side to a victory but they ended up sharing spoils in a 1-1 draw.

"I will try to do my best. I was disappointed against Quelaton, I didn't play well but will really try my best on Sunday.

"We just have the right attitude and I am confident we will do well. As players, this is our best chance to win this Cup and play in Africa.

"And if we just reach the final, I don't see ourselves losing the final," said Kutsanzira.

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