Chikuni wary of CAPS

HARARE - FC Platinum caretaker coach Tendai Chikuni has warned his players not to underrate inconsistent CAPS United when the two teams clash in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Mandava Stadium this afternoon.

Even though the Zvishavane side have scored an astonishing seven goals in their last two games, Chikuni remains wary of a CAPS United side that beat his team 3-1 in the reverse fixture at the National Sports Stadium in May.

“CAPS are a very good side,” said Chikuni.

“We respect them very much because they have a proven track record. They were just going through a bad patch but they are back in form.  They have won their last two games so they deserve respect.

All week I have been emphasising to my players never to read too much into CAPS’ erratic form.

“You can never underestimate a good team like CAPS and get away with it. I am confident that if we maintain our concentration throughout the game we will break CAPS’ dominance over us.”

Chikuni, a long-time assistant of national team coach Rahman Gumbo, attributes his team’s recent good form to a serious competition for jerseys at the Zvishavane side.

“I believe that competition for jerseys is healthy. Nobody, however good, should have a guaranteed jersey. I am happy that the players appreciate my views on this. The recent good results justify this approach.”

Interestingly, both CAPS and Platinum have not only dropped a number of senior players to the bench, they have also re-deployed certain players into new positions.

National team fringe player Donald Ngoma, midfielder Cabby Kamhapa and defenders Zephania Ngodzo as well as Norman Togara, have all not started Platinum’s recent games.

Chikuni has chosen Benjamin Marere and William Manondo, two players who were not in the plans of former coach Gumbo, to lead his attack. Thabani Kamusoko, the Zvishavane side’s former anchorman, is proving a hit in his new role as a centre back.

Chikuni’s counterpart at CAPS, Taurai Mangwiro, who assumed the Makepekepe coaching reins six games ago, has also benched senior players.

Former skipper Tapiwa Kumbuyani has lost his right-back slot to Hardlife Zvirekwi while former Zimbabwe international striker Shingi Kawondera is now being used as a second half impact player.

The former Monoz coach has reassigned Tawanda Munyanduri, who was used as the midfield enforcer by former CAPS coach Sean Connor, to a role in central defence where he is partnered by rookie defender Blessing Zabula.

It remains to be seen whether the changes by both coaches will bring the desired results this afternoon.


Today: Black Mambas v Chicken Inn (Morris Depot), Monomotapa v Hwange (Rufaro), FC Platinum v CAPS United (Mandava).

Tomorrow: Hardbody v Gunners (Ascot), Highlanders v Shabanie Mine (Barbourfields), Dynamos v Motor Action (Rufaro), Blue Rangers v Quelaton (Gwanzura), Buffaloes v Harare City (Sakubva).

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