Castle Lager Premier Soccer League giants Caps United received a major lift ahead of their colossal clash with archrivals Dynamos on Sunday with the return to training of captain Method Mwanjali and midfielder Archford Gutu, who are both staking claims for places in the team for the 76th edition of the big Harare derby.
The two had brushes with the law after they were arrested on Independence Day eve following a brawl that saw a Harare man, Tendai Nhunzvi, being hospitalised after sustaining wounds in the melee.
Mwanjali, who spent almost a week in remand prison, is accused of stabbing Nhunzvi, while Gutu, who only spent two nights in police cells, was charged with malicious damage to property.
But just a day after he was set free on $100 bail by the High Court, Mwanjali was back at training yesterday, ready to put his problems aside to partake in the league’s premium tie.
Gutu’s return to training yesterday was expected, but Mwanjali, who had a trying week behind bars, made a surprise appearance at their morning gym workout and was also part of the afternoon training session.
The two share several big Harare derbies between them with Gutu’s experience coming while he was turning out for Dynamos and Mwanjali having his first spell at Caps.
It will be up to coach Lloyd Chitembwe to determine whether they are both in the right mental frame of mind to perform in the big match, but this is one fixture where he needs all the experience he can get as well as the best expertise at his disposal.
Caps United team manager Shakespeare Chinogwenya yesterday confirmed that the two had thrown their names into the ring for the Sunday match.
“Both Mwanjali and Gutu took part in the gym training session today. They also had a run separately under the watchful eye of assistant coach Tostao Kwashi,” said Chinogwenya.
“The spirit is high in camp, they are raring to go and from our discussion with them, they both want to play, but that would depend on the coaches. They will see as the week progresses, they could be in the final 18.”
Former Warriors captain Mwanjali was given the armband upon his return to the squad after a five-year stint in South Africa where he turned out for Mamelodi Sundowns and Mpumalanga Black Aces.
He was also part of the Caps United squad that beat Dynamos for the last time in the league in April 2009 with Nyasha Mushekwi scoring a memorable double for a comfortable 2-0 victory under Chitembwe.
Since then, successive attempts to beat Dynamos in the league have failed. Gutu also returned home this year after some years in Sweden and had been earmarked to join his former club Dynamos, but opted for Caps United at the last minute.