Home » Sports » Derby Euphoria Grips Harare

Mark Harrison on Friday night conceded that the CAPS United job is his biggest so far in his career as he braced for this afternoon’s Sino-Zim Cement Challenge Cup showdown against Dynamos at Rufaro.

With a coaching career spanning 21 years, including a one-year stint as Bangladesh coach, the Englishman has a nomadic background, but has never before coached a championship racing team with a huge following like CAPS.

“I have coached in Asia, America and Africa, but this is the biggest job of my career,” said Harrison.

While today’s match is merely a pre-season friendship match to celebrate Zimbabwe’s relations with China, derby euphoria has already gripped Harare.

Six days after he began work, Harrison plunges into the Rufaro cauldron where three years ago, fellow Briton Sean Connor shed tears after United had done everything on the pitch but still failed to secure victory against DeMbare in a league match.

That today’s match is a friendship game, CAPS United fans do not care.

They want a positive result.

Harrison has already heightened curiosity among the Makepekepe faithful by declaring they would overpower Dynamos today.

“It is not a pressure game and neither is it a big game. But of course expectations are high and I know that the fans want something exciting. We are going to win it obviously but the outcome will not mean anything,” he said.

But his Dynamos counterpart David Mandigora begs to differ.

“Any result will have a bearing on us,” said Mandigora.

“A win will obviously boost our confidence ahead of the new season especially that we would have beaten CAPS United. If we lose we will of course try to psyche the boys not to carry that in their minds. We always play for good results and on Sunday [today] we will be playing for a win. We have been looking for positive results in all the pre-season matches we have played so as to cultivate a winning culture in the players.”

Mandigora will be out to test his strikeforce which boasts of forwards who have no record of potency.

Kelvin Bulaji, Simba Sithole, Anesu Dondo, Tawanda Mupasiri and Patrick Khumbula failed to surpass the three-goal mark last season while Dominic Chungwa managed six goals last term, an unimpressive return for a big team striker.

The DeMbare backline appears their gest department with Augustine Mbara, Sydney Linyama, Ocean Mushure and Blessing Moyo likely to start.

Dynamos arrive at Rufaro to protect their pride while CAPS will be looking to break DeMbare’s dominance over them in recent years and open a psychological avenue that their arch-enemies are not invincible.

The giants’ meetings in the past six years have seen CAPS boasting of only one win which came in the semifinal of last year’s ZNA Charity Shield.

CAPS United new signing Joel Ngodzo could be handed a run as well as other new acquisitions who include goalkeeper Victor Twaliki, defender Charles Mutero and Roderick Mutuma.

Mutuma’s last week switch from Dynamos to United will also add colour to this afternoon’s clash with the Rufaro Vietnam end which house DeMbare radical fans likely to abuse the lanky forward.

But the striker is geared for a hostile day while taunting Dynamos supporters saying they would be in his pocket all afternoon.

“I am going to handle Dynamos supporters. They are my people. I know what they want but I respect them. They made me to be the person I am today,” said Mutuma.

With Mandigora having shown no confidence in him, Mutuma has promised to score as well.

“It might be painful scoring against Dynamos but I will score. I am employed by CAPS United to score goals and that is what I am going to do. I have to make happy my paymasters,” he said.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard