By Eddie Chikamhi
Dynamos and CAPS United are set for a low key Harare Derby when they meet in a Chibuku Super Cup fixture at Baobab this weekend.
The game comes against a backdrop of a strike, by the Green Machine players, who are demanding an upward review of their salaries.
The Makepekepe players returned to training yesterday, after striking a deal with the club management, to have their dues deposited into their accounts, by the end of business, today.
Team manager, Shakespeare Chinogwenya, confirmed the players were back in training, although he was reluctant to discuss the challenges they faced this week.
“I cannot comment on administrative issues but what I can only say is that we are happy everyone trained today (yesterday) except for the players that are injured.
“Of course, we haven’t had the kind of preparation that we all would have wanted but we are hopeful that the boys will apply themselves well on Sunday because this is a Derby.
“There is more in it, in terms of the bragging rights, than anything else.’’
Makepekepe have also been hit by injuries with key players like Ronald Chitiyo, Simba Nhivi and Tinashe Balakasi still battling for recovery.
Defenders Valentine Musarurwa, Webster Tafa and Valentine Ndaba are also yet to recover fully.
CAPS United have won one game, in eight starts, in this tournament.
They were left staring an early exit from this year’s Chibuku Super Cup, following a draw against Herentals at Baobab, in their last match.
They had lost control of their destiny, in the previous game, when they fell to a morale-sapping 0-1 defeat to Harare City, who are under the tutelage of one of their greatest sons, Lloyd Chitembwe.
But, winning the Derby could give them, and their supporters, something to cheer their spirits, ahead of the start of the new season.
Pressure has been building on head coach, Darlington Dodo, and his backroom staff, to turn things around.
Dynamos have since qualified to the last eight from Group One, and could decide against fielding their strongest team, for the Derby.
Coach Tonderai Ndiraya has been giving opportunities to some of his fringe players.
The Harare Derby, which has been overshadowed by the Warriors World Cup debacle, could also be rendered a dead rubber before kick-off.
Harare City, who face bottom-of-the-table Herentals at the National Sports Stadium, on Sunday morning, can turn the big match into an academic battle, if they collect maximum points.
The Sunshine Boys are favourites for other quarter-final slot, after opening a five-point gap between them and CAPS United, who sit third, in the group, with eight points.
ZPC Kariba v Yadah (NSS, 11 am)
Black Rhinos v Manica Diamonds (Baobab, 11 am)
Ngezi Platinum Stars v FC Platinum (Mandava, 11 am)
Tenax CS v Cranborne Bullets (Sakubva, 11 am)
Chicken Inn v Bulawayo Chiefs (Barbourfields, 1 pm)
Herentals v Harare City (NSS, 11 am)
Triangle United v Whawha (Mandava, 11 am)
Bulawayo City v Highlanders (Barbourfields, 1 pm)
Dynamos v CAPS United (Baobab, 3 pm). The Herald