Simba Bhora coach Tonderai Ndiraya believes his team will face one of the toughest tests of their maiden Premiership season when they play CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
Ndiraya feels the Green Machine are one of the best-coached teams with talented players.
However, the Simba Bhora coach believes his players perform better when against conventional large clubs.
Poor performance versus minor teams has been the Premiership newsboys’ undoing.
Despite losses to FC Platinum and Chicken Inn, the new guys performed better in their first two games. They also earned a point from Dynamos and Highlanders.
Their biggest letdown has been their performance against modest sides. Simba lost to Green Fuel and Cranborne Bullets with similar 1-0 margins. They also managed a 1-1 draw against Sheasham.
They meet a CAPS United side that was inactive last weekend as their game against Sheasham was abandoned after the hosts failed to travel to Zvishavane for their home game.
“We are playing a team which is well coached; coached by a very good coach in Lloyd Chitembwe. They have done very well this season. They continue to do well so we expect a very tough match, I want to be honest.
“If you look at the quality that CAPS United has in their ranks, it really gives you a picture of what sort of a match we are going to be playing.
“But we have also been preparing with that in mind and we expect the boys to really compete against the best and hope for the best. But we also fancy our chances if we play well according to how we have planned we can get something out of the match,” said Ndiraya.
Simba Bhora have missed a number of key players in different matches due to injuries. This has forced the coach to chop and change his starting team repeatedly.
The team has received a timely boost with former CAPS United midfielder Ronald Chitiyo back after missing action last weekend.
Tinashe Balakasi and Kudakwashe Mangami are also back and managed to play last week. However, the team is still missing pacy winger Talent Chawapiwa who has been struggling with an injury since joining the Shamva side.
The former Dynamos coach is happy with the overall performance of the team. On Monday, he was even happy with the team’s fighting spirit when they came from behind to share the spoils with Bulawayo Chiefs.
However, they have not won a match in their last five outings. Simba Bhora’s last victory was on April 14, when they beat Hwange 2-0 at the National Sports Stadium.
CAPS United skipper Tonderai Mateyaunga said the game will be like a derby since the newcomers have a number of their former players in their fold including Chitiyo, Valentine Musarurwa, goalkeeper Simba Chinani and Tinashe Balakasi.
“Simba are a good side. What makes the encounter more interesting is that they have former CAPS United players in their squad, so it’s going to be a derby but we have prepared well just like we have been doing in the past games,” said Mateyaunga.
The veteran keeper feels that the unplanned break last weekend was a blessing in disguise for his team. “The no-show by Sheasham might have been a blessing in disguise because it gave us more time to rest. Some players were carrying small knocks but are now okay,” he said. CAPS United have lost once this season. They only lost to rivals DeMbare in the Harare derby.
The former Dynamos goal minder says as a club their objective is to win as many games as they can and maintain consistency.
“Obviously, the objective is to win as many games as possible and see where we will be at the end of the season,” he said.
Black Rhinos v FC Platinum (NSS), Bulawayo Chiefs v Cranborne Bullets (Luveve), Manica Diamonds v Yadah (Gibbo)
Tomorrow: CAPS United v Simab Bhora (NSS), triangle v Sheasham (Gibbo), Highlanders v GreenFuel (Barbourfields), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Dynamos (Baobab)
Monday: ZPC Kariba v Chicken Inn (NSS)