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CHAMPIONS Dynamos are bracing for their toughest Harare Derby in years as they believe bitter rivals CAPS United are in “peak form” which will boost their confidence ahead of Sunday’s epic clash at the National Sports Stadium. The Glamour Boys have been dominating the Derby meetings since 2009 with CAPS United even failing to beat their rivals in such tournaments like the Bob Super Cup and the Mbada Diamonds Cup.

But team manager Richard Chihoro, who has taken part in a number of derbies either as an assistant to David Mandigora or as team manager manger, said he had detected an air of confidence in the manner the current CAPS United side have been going about their business.

“All along we have been dominating them whenever we play in the Derby and they have been wondering what it is they have to do to beat us,” Chihoro told The Herald.

“But remember they beat us in the ZNA Cup and that result could have given them some confidence that they can win against us.

“They are also in peak form and they have gone for about five or six games without defeat and that, too, has given them confidence so we really have to be careful and we have to shoot a gear up and play much better than we have been doing in the previous games.”

Chihoro said the current standings on the Premiership log table had also added an interesting twist to the famous Harare Derby.

In a rare occurrence for the domestic Premiership, the league will approach its halfway mark with the country’s three biggest teams leading the chase for the championship.

Bulawayo giants Highlanders, who will be involved in a low key derby against Bantu Rovers at Barbourfields on the same day, lead the standings with 27 points from 14 matches.

But Kelvin Kaindu’s men are just a point ahead of both Dynamos and CAPS United and three in front of fourth-placed ZPC Kariba.

That both Dynamos and CAPS United have the same number of points and are only separated by goal difference has also brought in another interesting sub-plot ahead of the epic clash that is expected to attract a bumper crowd at the National Sports Stadium.

Whether he was playing mind games or not, Chihoro seemed to be concerned with the fact that CAPS United have shrugged off a slow start to power themselves back into the reckoning for the championship and said Makepekepe’s current form has not escaped DeMbare’s attention.

But the Dynamos manager also backed his charges to thrive on the big stage and predicted a close affair.

“Whenever we meet CAPS United or Highlanders, the games are normally tight ones and you cannot afford to make many mistakes and get away with it so I hope the players will lift themselves up and move into top gear.

“Everybody knows what will be at stake in a Derby match and that helps to motivate the players and we all know it will be war on the pitch,” Chihoro said.

Chihoro, just like assistant coach Tichaona Diya, was not amused by the Dynamos players’ attitude in their previous assignment at the same venue against Black Rhinos.

Both Chihoro and Diya felt Dynamos could have won comfortably against Rhinos had the players not been “a little complacent”.

However, Chihoro felt the Dynamos faithful would witness a different outfit when they date CAPS United in easily the biggest Derby clash in the country.

“Of course, against Rhinos our players tended to be a bit complacent and almost made life difficult for themselves but with CAPS United on a peak, and the fact that we are also playing well and winning, it will be a different story and it will be a different team in terms of attitude because we can’t afford to lose our record now”.

Chihoro is also aware of the fact that Sunday’s clash is the first of back-to-back Derby showdowns against the city rivals and he would want Dynamos to continue to have the bragging rights and paint the capital blue.

DeMbare are still sweating over the fitness of skipper Murape Murape, easily their most experienced player, whose influence often has a bearing in matches of this magnitude.

But the Glamour Boys could not have found a better time to welcome the return of striker — Rodreck Mutuma — at a time when their attack has been the team’s Achilles Heel.

Mutuma announced his return to DeMbare by scoring the opener in their 2-1 win over Black Rhinos last Sunday.

Source : The Herald

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