Harare derby battle continues

HARARE - The Harare derby is one of Zimbabwe’s most mercilessly hyped football matches.

Whenever Dynamos and CAPS United meet it is not only the capital that comes to a standstill but the entire country takes notice.

The two teams first met last Sunday at the National Sports Stadium in the league and the match ended in a one-all draw.

That first meeting was overshadowed by DeMbare captain Murape Murape’s criticism of referee Darlington Shonhiwa.

Before the dust could settle after that clash, last Wednesday the draw of the first round of the newly launched One Wallet Cup served up another Harare derby.

What this means that for the three straight weeks, DeMbare and Makepekepe will be meeting at the NSS.

The first match had already come and went without much separating the two teams leaving the series with two more matches starting with today’s clash.

It is a guarantee that each match will be bigger than the last won considering what is at stake.

Starting with today’s clash, both teams are eyeing a semi-final place in the One Wallet Cup where they are likely to meet Triangle, How Mine and Chicken Inn.

All the other seeded teams in this competition starting with Highlanders, FC Platinum and Harare City have already fallen by the wayside.

Whoever wins today’s match between Makepekepe and DeMbare will enter the draw of the semi-finals as the favourite to win the One Wallet Cup.

No disrespect to the other remaining three teams but this is just a reality.

Both Dynamos and CAPS will know this going into today’s match and it ensures that they will fight to the death to ensure that they win to reach the semi-finals.

Last weekend’s match ended in a draw but this afternoon there has to be a winner at all costs since the tie will go straight to a penalty shootout in the event of a draw after 90 minutes.

After the draw on Wednesday, CAPS board member Lewis Uriri was in a bullish mood insisting that the Green Machine will dump Dynamos this afternoon.

“This is something that we longed for and something that we wanted to happen. At the end of the three derbies we will know who is at the top of Zimbabwean football,” Uriri said.

“We have always been prepared to play football and especially when it comes to playing against Dynamos. There is absolutely no doubt who is going to get the $80 000 (for winning the tournament) and there is absolutely no doubt that we will be in the next draw for the semi-finals.”

Uriri’s confidence is understandable considering that Makepekepe feel that they should have won the first Harare derby last weekend.

Dynamos keeper Artwell Mukandi made a number of telling saves especially in the second half as the Green machine piled on the pressure in search of a winner.

However, the Dynamos camp is not easily cowered with chairperson Kenny Mubaiwa firing back saying that that the glamour Boys will come out tops.

“I’m happy with the draw because we are going to be playing against CAPS United. Our hope is that we will knock them out of the tournament in the first round,” Mubaiwa said.

“We are prepared for this derby because in any match Dynamos play, the opposition would want to beat us. It doesn’t matter who we are playing.

“At the weekend, we lost a lot of chances otherwise we could have beaten CAPS United by six goals in the first half alone.”

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