TODAY three “small’ teams join Zimbabwe’s “cup kings” Caps United in the last pair of quarter-finals in the country’s top football tournament, the Chibuku Super Cup.
But after dumping the seeded favourites out of the tournament, the “small teams” have guaranteed that at least one of them will sup at the table of champions and walk out of the dressing room as finalists of the Chibuku Super Cup.
Sunday News Sport analyses each of the two encounters that kick-off this afternoon.
Bulawayo City v Yadah
A classic battle of minnows, there is no clear favourite in Bulawayo today.
These two combatants have faced off just once in their brief histories, a 2-1 victory in favour of Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium in June. Since then, both have had mixed fortunes ahead of this afternoon’s clash at B/F.
In their first clash, City’s win brought to an end a three-match losing streak and yet again the hosts head into this fixture fighting to break yet another losing streak. Goals by Clive Rupiya and Munyaradzi Mungadze were enough to lift City on the day.
However, today’s encounter is a new experience for either side and history may not play a role in determining the result at the end of 90 minutes.
City’s ‘Guvnor, Mandla Mpofu seems to have built himself a solid squad with both flair players and the grit that true champions need to win titles.
Blessed with the dribbling talents of Rupiya and Trevor Ndlovu along with sprint kings Newman Sianchali and Ishmael Wadi, Mpofu will expect his midfield to provide the quartet with enough of the clean ball to make a difference on the scoreboard.
Sipho Ndlovu and Rainsome Pavari will today be missing injured Innocent “Joker” Kutsanzira, the third pivot of a “triad” that has propelled City to stunning performances against fancied opponents like Dynamos and Caps United in recent weeks. An in-form Pavari will enable Ndlovu to engineer the attack and set up Sianchali and Wadi.
City have lost their last two league games despite dominating proceedings in both encounters and Mpofu has been critical of his side for losing matches although they have been better man for man.
City’s opponents started the season strongly, but appeared to have lost the plot when team owner and principal sponsor, Prophet Walter Magaya began dictating tactics. A known lover of the sport, Magaya usurped his technical team’s duties and is known to run training sessions at the club despite not having the requisite qualifications.
Yadah made some solid signings after gaining promotion including landing the choice signature of former Dynamos, Caps United and Highlanders forward, Roderick “Prince” Mutumwa in mid-season. Yadah are stacked with a playing staff with Premiership experience and proven quality that includes Milton Makopa, Wellington Kamudyariwa, Last Chibwiro, Moses Demera, Brian Mapfumo, and Jimmy Dzingai, but this has come to naught thus far this season.
Prediction: Bulawayo City 2 Yadah 0
Shabanie Mine v Caps United
Charismatic coach, Luke “Vahombe” Masomere has already called this encounter, suggesting that his hometown Shabanie Mine will move on into the semi-finals at the expense of Caps United when they do battle at Maglas Stadium today. Masomere, who is currently unattached, is convinced that a victory for them against Caps will become a catalyst for the side’s eventual seat at the finalists’ table.
On the field, Caps have been in imperious form, managing to get over their Champions League malady and the loss of key players and slowly climb out of the bottom half of the table. The defending league champions are the only seeded team left in the tournament and are now favoured to at least reach the final.
History favours Shabanie who have won five times out of the 14 these two foes have played against each other while Caps has claimed four. The two have drawn five times making today’s encounter difficult to call from a historical perspective. Both teams have won four times in their last 10 encounters.
Very little separates the two when statistics are considered with each having won four times at home while playing each other, but while Shabanie have managed to beat Caps in Harare, Makepekepe are yet to get victory in Zvishavane.
Man for man, Caps have an edge with players in the mould of in-form Dominic Chungwa, skipper Hardlife Zvirekwi, Devon Chafa and speedster Phenias Bhamusi expected to carry their side through to the semi-finals. -@AllanFoti