Eddie Chikamhi and Takudzwa Chitsiga, Harare Bureau
IN-FORM midfielder, Dominic Mukandi, has experienced both sides of the Harare Derby.
He played for Dynamos in 2016 before retracing his footsteps back to the Green Machine.
The midfielder missed a golden opportunity to win the title with Caps United three years ago when he crossed to join DeMbare for one season.
He feels this year Makepekepe, who have a two-point cushion at the top of the table going into the last three games of the season, will be champions.
A win over DeMbare tomorrow will push them closer to lifting the title.
Unfortunately, he has never featured in a winning side in the Derby.
“Of course, it’s a Derby and people may say lot of things about it but, personally, I am not going to put myself under pressure with such a thought,’’ said Mukandi.
“I am looking at it as one of the games we need to win because we want the title.
“This is a game we have been waiting for in a long time. We hope to collect maximum points in this game and enhance our chances of lifting the title.’’
The Green Machine lead the race with 55 points, two ahead of nearest rivals Chicken Inn and FC Platinum.
All the three teams dropped points last week with Caps United surrendering a two-goal advantage in a 2-2 stalemate with Yadah.
Now, they are looking for a response.
“If you look at it, the second half of the league has been difficult for everyone,’’ said Mukandi.
“But, this year, we have a better opportunity.
“We have been working hard since Tuesday and we hope to concentrate on the bigger picture, which is about winning the title.
“Of course, things haven’t gone to perfection, in our last few games, but God has been on our side, our rivals in the title race have also been dropping points.
“However, we are not concentrating on how the other teams are playing. We know our shortcomings and we hope to correct them.”
Obviously, Makepekepe will be following with keen interest as second-placed Chicken Inn play Bulawayo Chiefs at Luveve this afternoon.
FC Platinum have a date against Chapungu at Ascot tomorrow.
Caps United are set to welcome striker Newman Sianchali, who was suspended for last week’s game against Yadah.
He returns at a time fellow striker, John Zhuwawu, has been ruled out through suspension.
“The Derby doesn’t need a coach to push you to perform,’’ said Sianchali.
“You are motivated just by the feeling you are playing the Derby. It’s a big game so you don’t need the coach or the supporters to push you.
“We have to do the job and then the rest will follow,” said Sianchali.
Dynamos are playing for pride, and to maintain an unbeaten run stretching 19 league matches, in this Derby.
A win could help them keep alive their chances of finishing in the top four.
Defensive midfielder Godfrey Mukambi, who has featured in the last five Harare Derbies, believes they have a chance to grind a victory tomorrow.
“We are looking forward to the Caps United match, which has come at the right time when we have rediscovered our form,’’ he said.
“The team has been working hard and we need to upset Caps United.
“Any match against Caps United is never easy and we are not going to read much into their current position on the log standings.
“We are not playing for any side to clinch the title but for our targets. After we missed out on the championship,we shifted our target to a top four.
“Losing the points to Caps United means we will have done ourselves a disservice.
“There is still a lot to play for. We were counted out during the first half of the season but we are now a force to reckon with.’’
Mukambi said coach Tonderai Ndiraya should be given a lot of credit for the work he has done at Dynamos.
“We are going to get a full set of points on Sunday and we need to do that for our coach and supporters who have stood with us through thick and thin,’’ said Mukambi.
“The team went through a difficult time at the beginning of the season but we have since put that behind us.
“The coming on board of coach Ndiraya changed everything. Everyone seems happy at the moment and as a senior player I try by all means to support him.
“Ndiraya is someone who demands results and it helps to push us to go the extra mile.
‘’There are several players who have improved under Ndiraya and I am sure this time we will not settle for a draw.”