The Herald (Harare)

13 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Murape Praises Monoz

VETERAN midfielder Murape Murape has poured lavish praise on Monomotapa, the team they meet in the Mbada Diamonds Cup final, describing them as one of the best teams in the Premiership. The Glamour Boys booked their ticket when they outplayed bitter rivals CAPS United with a 3-0 win in a semi-final tie at Barbourfields on Sunday to edge closer to an historic back-to-back league and Cup double.

Dynamos, who host Buffaloes at Rufaro tomorrow in the league competition, are two matches away from knowing their fate in the championship race where they need four points to beat Highlanders to the title as they chase glory on two fronts.

They could even win it tomorrow should they beat Buffaloes, as is widely expected, and Bosso are held by FC Platinum at Barbourfields.

Despite a seemingly big win in the semi-finals against the Green Machine, Murape has refused to take their final match against Monomotapa lightly as they have struggled with Biggie Zuze's men this year.

Monomotapa have been in top form this season and they beat FC Platinum 1-0 at Sakubva at the weekend to secure a berth in the final.

This is a huge leap from last season when they were booted out in the first leg by Motor Action. "In my own opinion Monomotapa are one of the best teams in the Premiership this year," said Murape.

"They have been very consistent on the field of play and if you can look back to the last league match we played against them you can see that they played so well but we managed to beat them because we had a greater fighting spirit.

"So it promises to be a very good final," said Murape. DeMbare have lost once to Monomotapa (1-0) in the league this year but they hit back two weeks ago when they came from behind to register a hard-fought 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture at Rufaro.

The Monomotapa technical department have succeeded in the art of creating a flowing game, which big teams like Highlanders, CAPS United and FC Platinum have found difficult to match.

"It's going to be a tight finish to the season.

"We hope to maintain focus in the remaining games since we are in the running for another league and Cup double," said Murape.

The veteran DeMbare midfielder was thrilled by their semi-final win over CAPS United, which ensured a continued domination over their Harare rivals in the last two seasons.

Besides beating CAPS United in the Mbada Diamonds first round match last year, DeMbare have also enjoyed back-to-back success in the league race against their rivals in the two seasons.

They also beat them in the BancABC Sup8r Cup final two years ago.

"There was a time when CAPS United dominated us. I believe the tide has shifted and it's now our time but winning by three goals is something else," said Murape.

"We could have beaten them by a wider margin had we not played to the gallery after taking a comfortable lead.

"It's so sad that CAPS United are not playing so well these days because in the past these derbies used to be a bit tricky."

DeMbare enjoyed an upper hand on Sunday despite starting off slowly in a match that many had tipped Makepekepe to turn the tide in the wake of good performances recently.

But CAPS United failed to rise to the occasion and once they conceded the first goal in the 39th minute from Denver Mukamba they offered little resistance as Simba Sithole and Rodrick Mutuma also registered their names on the scoresheet in the second half.

Murape, who was a victim of rough challenges earlier on, said CAPS United were more physical and applauded his teammates for their determination.

"CAPS United wanted to intimidate us with a more physical game early on.

"They came in with a lot of bad tackles to make us chicken out but we just held on and played our normal game.

"I am so glad we have youngsters who have shown that they can rise to the occasion when put in difficult situations.

"But the victory was sweeter in the sense that we silenced both Highlanders and CAPS United fans at once.

"The supporters are the people who make football exciting and on Sunday CAPS United and Highlanders fans had come together against Dynamos hoping for our downfall.

"But it was not to be. So, in essence, we beat both Highlanders and CAPS United. We did it for our fans, some of whom had driven all the way from Harare and other parts of Zimbabwe, just to cheer the team on.

"It's good that we managed to make them happy at the end of the day despite this coalition against us.

"I also want to salute our fans for their conduct, which makes them the best supporters in the Premiership," said Murape.

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