HARARE – CAPS United walk out onto the National Sports Stadium turf this afternoon to face Egyptian giants Zamalek with only a win sufficient to keep their African Champions League dream alive.
The Green Machine were handed a lifeline in Group B to reach the quarter-finals of the competition after joint log leaders USM Alger (USMA) of Algeria and Libyan side Al Ahli Tripoli, who are now on eight points each played out a 1-1 draw on Friday night.
Lloyd Chitembwe’s side sits bottom of the group with only three points from four matches and could take their tally to six with a win this afternoon.
United will still have one remaining game when they travel to Algeria to face USMA.
Makepekepe assistant coach Tostao Kwashi noted the importance of getting maximum points in today’s encounter against the White Knights, who are third in the group with five points.
“The players are ready and in a good state of mind. They can’t wait to play and give us a great result for our fans. Hopefully by tomorrow (today) we can give our fans a win,” Kwashi said.
“We can’t look back at what happened in the previous matches. We just have to look forward and be ready for tomorrow (today) which we are.
“It’s the biggest game of the year. Two games left, six points at stake so everybody has to come and do well; that is to fight for the badge. We are positive, we have the mindset to give our all and I know the boys will give their all.”
The Makepekepe camp has been rocked by injuries, especially last month when they lost heavily 4-2 in back-to-back matches against Al Ahli.
Goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda and veteran forward Leonard Tsipa remain sidelined by injury.
“In terms of injuries, the situation is better than the previous weeks. The guys who were out are now back in the team which is a positive thing for us. Whoever is going to get the chance we pray they will shine for the club,” Kwashi said.
“Tsipa is still out injured. Sibanda is out and the doctors are working with him. But right now I don’t want to talk about injuries it’s unfair to some of the guys who will do duty.
“I see it as a blessing in disguise when one guy gets injured it’s an opportunity for the other to shine. Take the button stick and continue with the race.”
The former CAPS United winger said they have since put behind a difficult week in which they lost 2-0 to Yadah FC before losing captain and defender Dennis Dauda to the same team following a massive fallout over match-fixing allegations.
“In football, things happen so quickly and what happened during the past week is already water under the bridge,” he said.
“Right now we are focused on our match against Zamalek and whoever gets the chance will just have to come and do his job.
We do not have any excuses. We cannot mourn over the absence of one player.”