War of words sets tone for Harare Derby

HARARE – Two legends of Dynamos and CAPS United, Tichaona Diya and Brenna Msiska, have stoked the fires of rivalry with tough talk ahead of the two clubs’ blockbuster clash on Sunday.

The cross town rivals clash at Rufaro Stadium in what could be one of the closest fought matches in the history of the famed Harare Derby, which will clock up game number 71 tomorrow, and fittingly so, at a venue where there have been many epic battles between these two clubs before.

If the tension which has been heightened by the two assistant coaches is anything to go by, then the capital can prepare for a massive derby match this time around.

The last time the two clubs were involved in a derby worth the hype was back in 2009 when Nyasha Mushekwi’s brace propelled United to their last win over their old nemesis in the league.

The league title that year was won by modest Harare club Gunners, who have since been relegated to the second-tier of Zimbabwean football.

This time around, both Dynamos and CAPS are well and truly in the running for the title, a scenario which has sparked a flurry of exchanges between the two clubs likely to spill into the field tomorrow.

It is not surprising that the two men who have fuelled the rivalry are Diya and Msiska, men who have their respective clubs’ colours running through their veins.

Interestingly, both are former goalkeepers of their clubs, and having started off their coaching careers as goalkeepers’ trainers, have rose to become assistant coaches.

Diya might not have been the finest keeper to wear the DeMbare number one shirt, but he has been a crucial figure in the Glamour Boys’ derby success of the past three seasons as part of the club’s technical staff under different head coaches.

He is DeMbare through-and-though, and it’s hard to separate him from the success achieved by the club in the last two seasons, where the record Zimbabwean champions recorded back-to-back league and Cup double success.

“Matches against CAPS United usually motivate players on their own,” Diya told reporters this week. 

“The boys are motivated and ready to beat CAPS United. Our preparations are going on well. Everyone is fit and raring to go. We are only faced with selection headache because everyone is geared up for the match. All the boys are in high spirits but at the end of the day we will have to come up with 18 players to represent us on Sunday.

“This is one game that we should not lose. We want to win that match at all costs. We will do everything to ensure that we get those three points.”

Diya added that DeMbare are maintaining focus on their own preparations rather than worry about their rivals.

“We are not worried about what they are doing. We are only focusing on our preparations. They have been playing well but we are not reading much into history books. This is a new game with different challenges,” Diya said.

“At Dynamos we don’t have special preparations for any team. We treat all our matches the same way. Most teams turn to play well against us but we are not worried about that.

“We have been telling our players to maintain our position on the log and I am sure they are ready for the battle. We want to stay at the top form as long as we can so we cannot afford to lose this game.

“It’s an important match for us especially towards our title chase. The boys should not also relax just because we have been beating them in the previous years. We need to stay focused.”

Dynamos are currently sitting on top of the log with 38 points, just edging out joint-leaders Harare City on goal difference.

They are three ahead of CAPS, who are on fourth place from the same number of matches.

On the other hand Msiska, who kept goal for CAPS for a decade, was characteristically less diplomatic in his preview of the match, taunting Dynamos for having been “lucky” to beat them in the last four years. 

“To me I don’t even see why people say they have been dominant,” Msiska told the Daily News on Thursday. 

“It’s only that they have been lucky. They have scored good goals but they don’t dominant. If they were dominant over us they should have been beating us by six or seven goals.”

The former CAPS United goalkeeper insisted that Dynamos were going to face a much tougher United.

The former Cup Kings are currently high riding after 10 games without defeat.

“This season it’s like we are coming from the dead. We are playing well and good result against Dynamos will keep us on the right track.”

Msiska, however, bemoaned the lack of “passion in the derby” in recent times, blaming this on the movement of players between the two clubs. Dynamos have Washington Pakamisa, Clive Kawinga, Stephen Alimenda and Oscar Machapa who have played for CAPS, while Makepekepe have on their books the former DeMbare trio of Tafadzwa Dube, George Magariro and Tawanda Nyamandwe. 

“During our days derbies were about passion because the match was all about protecting the name of the club,” Msiska said.

“But now it’s different because there is no more junior policy. We are buying players from Dynamos and they are buying players from CAPS United. So when players come here it’s just about work. I remember I played 10 years for CAPS, I can tell you there was passion to defend the name of the club.”

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