By Tadious Manyepo
HIGHLANDERS coach Mandla “Lulu” Mpofu has tipped Caps United to go all the way and win the league champions if they sustain the trailblazing form they have just picked in the Castle Lager Premiership.
The Green Machine put on one of their best performances this season when they rallied from a goal down to beat Mpofu’s charges 2-1 at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
The win came on the back of another impressive 1-0 win over Manica Diamonds, a week earlier.
With the hard-fought victory over the Bulawayo giants, Makepekepe moved to within a point of leaders FC Platinum who were outgunned by an in-form Triangle side yet to taste defeat in 10 league outings.
And Mpofu, whose troops fell for the first time in the league in six rounds, reckoned Caps United could be serious title contenders if they play like what they did on Sunday in the remaining 15 games.
“Caps United have serious intentions and judging from the way they battled for the win against us, I think if they can continue working hard, they will push for the title,” said Mpofu.
“They are a good team, much disciplined and technically superb. Looking at our game against them, I think, as Highlanders we showed how much we have improved as a team especially after we scored first. But for Caps United to have that come-from-behind spirit to win, I think they are a good team.
“Remember we had gone for six matches without tasting defeat and it was always going to take a special team to beat us. Caps have proved to be one.”
Mpofu, who took over from Madinda Ndlovu after the latter’s move to Botswana remains optimistic Bosso will finish the season on stronger terms.
“I think it is too early to talk about where which team will finish at but I think they (Caps) will be up there amongst the best.
“We also intend to push and see where we will be at come the end of the marathon, otherwise the Caps match is already water under the bridge. We still need to improve on our defending going forward.”
Bosso have amassed 23 points in 19 games, 12 behind leaders, FC Platinum.
While Makepekepe moved to within a point of the table toppers, third-placed Chicken Inn blew away yet another chance of moving within sniffing distance of the Norman Mapeza team when they were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Yadah at Luveve on Saturday.
The Joey Antipas team took their tally to 31 points, four behind the platinum miners but they still have a game in hand against Herentals.
Just like Chicken Inn, army side Black Rhinos, who have been a revelation in their recent matches also failed to cut the gap between them and the leaders after falling 1-2 to fellow combatants Chapungu who had gone for 11 games without winning.
The Herbert Maruwa-coached side remain within shouting distance but given their poor second half of the season record, they will have to work even harder if they are to win the title for the first time since 1987.
Wheels also appear to be coming off for Ngezi Platinum Stars who lost 0-1 against Mushowani on Sunday, just four days after an identical defeat at home to Triangle.
But Dynamos made sure they stretched their unbeaten streak to seven matches with a last-gasp Evans Katema strike earning them a point in a 2-2 draw against Hwange at the Colliery.
The match had to be stopped for 21 minutes as mayhem erupted between the two sets of fans over some alleged juju acts involving a Dynamos hooligan.
DeMbare coach, Tonderai Ndiraya, has applied patches to the cracks which early in the season threatened to tear apart the Glamour Boys.
Since coming on to replace Lloyd Chigowe, Ndiraya has steadied the ship and DeMbare have worked their way into the title mix with eight points only separating them with the pace setters.
Ndiraya’s exploits haven’t gone unnoticed as he has since been named Coach of the Month for July.
Caps United’s Joel Ngodzo has won the Player of the Month for the same period.
In the month of July, Ndiraya picked eight points out of a possible 12 with two wins and as many draws.
DeMbare posted identical 1-0 wins over Chapungu and Harare City and forced a 1-1 draw with CAPS United in the big Harare Derby, the same result they also got against Black Rhinos. The Chronicle