Zimbabwe: Ferroviario Arrive

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MOZAMBICAN champions Ferroviario de Beira arrived in Harare yesterday for their high-profile international friendly against CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday. Both teams are using the match as part of their preparations for the 2017 CAF Champions League with the Mozambicans set to take on Zimamoto of Zanzibar while the Green Machine have a date against Lioli of Lesotho next month.

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Ferroviario de Beira celebrated their finest hour last October when they won their first Mozambican top-flight league title, in more than 40 years, following a 2-1 win over Desportivo de Maputo in the final match of the season.

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CAPS United also needed the final match of a gripping season last year, to end 11 years of waiting for the league title, when they held their nerve to beat Chapungu 1-0 at Ascot in Gweru and edge FC Platinum into second place.

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Interestingly, both clubs share green-and-white as their primary colours.

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The Mozambican top-flight league has been dominated by clubs from Maputo with Ferroviario de Maputo and Costa do Sol the dominant forces.

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But Ferroviario de Beira joined the enclosure of champions last year and will represent their country in the CAF Champions League for the first time in their history.

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They have played in the CAF Confederation Cup in 2006 and 2014, crashing out in the first round on both occasions and also featured in the CAF Cup and the old Cup Winners Cup tournaments.

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Founded back in 1924, Ferroviario de Beira are owned by the railways company of Mozambique and have two foreigners on their books — Zimbabwe ‘keeper Willard Manyatera and Zambian midfielder Henry Anthony.

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CAPS United president Farai Jere was on hand yesterday to welcome his visitors as they checked into a Harare hotel yesterday with the Green Machine boss promising the Mozambicans a very good match on Sunday.

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“We are happy to host you as brothers because our countries share very strong ties and we hope that we will give you the kind of competition that will help you in your quest to do well in the Champions League and, likewise, you will also help us because we are preparing for the same tournament,” said Jere.

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“We have a duty to represent our brotherly nations very well in the Champions League and your success is our success and our success will also be your success and we are humbled that you have accepted our invitation to play this very, very big match and also spend some time in our beautiful country.

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“We owe a lot of our success last year to the pre-season tour that we had in Mozambique because it helped us prepare very well for our championship challenge and also helped our coaches to see the areas that needed to be improved.”

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The Mozambicans, who were also met by officials from their embassy here in Harare, said they were going to give Makepekepe a very good fight, but emphasised that whatever the result should not override the fact that the two countries, and clubs, shared a very strong bond.

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CAPS United will also travel to Zambia where they will play in a four-team tournament as part of their preparations for the Champions League while Jere has been telling his men that they need to defend their domestic championship to show they have really come of age.

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The Green Machine have added the exciting Ronald Chitiyo into their ranks and the Makepekepe fans will have a chance to see their new boy in action on Sunday.

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