DYNAMOS coaches are confident that they have done enough to prepare their striker, Simba Sithole, to face the boos boys from CAPS United when the two Harare giants clash in a Mbada Diamonds Cup semi-final at Barbourfields tomorrow.
Sithole led CAPS United's attack during the first half of the 2011 season in which he bagged 10 goals and was on course to win the Golden Boot award before he joined South African side, Mamelodi Sundowns midway in the season.
But the former Pamushana High student failed to secure game time at the Brazilians and a year later he retraced his footsteps back to the Castle Lager Premiership.
While some people had hoped Sithole would re-join the Green Machine, the players' handlers opted for rivals DeMbare. He was a direct replacement for Takesure Chinyama and has since established himself into the team after a nervy start.
A former Shooting Stars forward, Sithole has scored four goals in Dynamos' last five Premiership games. But tomorrow, Sithole will come face to face with his former team-mates for the first time since his return from South Africa and Dynamos assistant coach Tonderayi Ndiraya believes the player is ready for the challenge.
"He is quite relaxed and motivated to play against his former paymasters. Simba is in fine form at the moment and he is one player who always gives out 100 percent effort at training. The coach has spoken to him and he is feeling good and wants to do well, just like he has done in the previous games. So he has no pressure at all," said Ndiraya yesterday.
Naturally, Sithole will be one of the players under the spotlight during the game tomorrow as Dynamos seek to defend the cup.
"Simba is a well-disciplined player and we hope that he will not be affected by the possible reception from the CAPS United fans. He has done well since he came to replace Takesure Chinyama and has scored four goals. For now he is looking forward to getting a goal or two against his former team-mates. I am sure he will concentrate on his game and help the team to win," said Ndiraya.
Reports from South Africa yesterday were linking Sithole for a possible return to the Super Diski as Bloemfontein Celtics are said to be tracking the player.
While CAPS fans could target Sithole, Ndiraya is also aware that Bosso fans are likely to create a hostile atmosphere for Dynamos.
"Obviously, Highlanders fans will come and rally behind CAPS United, bearing in mind that we are competing against Bosso in the league.
"So Highlanders fans would want to frustrate us so that we falter in the cup competition and dent our confidence in the next league game when we play Buffaloes. They would then hope to get a positive result against Platinum and get back to the top of the log. So we expect them (Bosso fans) to back CAPS United all the way but I guess our guys will not be fazed by that. We have spoken to them about that and they are well aware. When we played Chicken Inn last time, Highlanders fans were backing Chicken Inn and this is the same situation we are going to face," he said.
Ndiraya said Dynamos were determined to getting a win over CAPS United, whom they have dominated in the previous meetings.
Last year Dynamos beat CAPS United 3-2 in a Bob 87 Super Cup final before winning the league matches 1-0 and then 2-1. DeMbare also knocked out CAPS United from the Mbada Diamonds Cup 1-0 in the first round.
This year, DeMbare have continued with their dominance over their rivals, beating them 1-0 and 3-0 in the league matches. However, tomorrow's game is a new one.
"Cup games are very difficult. The results are determined at the end of the day and it is different from league games. In a cup game, you would want to do your best so that you finish off the game and progress to the next round," said Ndiraya.
The winner between CAPS United and Dynamos will meet either FC Platinum or Monomotapa in the final.
"We have been preparing well and I guess we are done with our preparations and the boys are raring to go. It's the first time we are playing CAPS United in Bulawayo and we are relishing this opportunity to play a derby away at a neutral venue. It's going to be a nice feeling and a good experience," said Ndiraya.
Ndiraya, a former player at Dynamos himself, said they have also emphasised to their players the need to remain focussed in the remaining games of the season.
"We still want to fight on two fronts. We have not shifted our focus from both the league and the cup successes. Remember after the Mbada Diamonds Cup, we are going into a league match against Buffaloes. At the moment we are focusing on the Mbada Cup match and we always say we take each game as it comes. This moment in time, we are concentrating on the Cup match on Sunday but we also have the league match on Wednesday in mind," he said.
Dynamos are likely to name an unchanged starting team with George Chigova keeping goals while Timire Mamvura or David Kutyauripo will play in rightback. Thomas Magorimbo could be used as the anchorman in the absence of Devon Chafa who is injured while the veteran Murape Murape thrives in such matches.