By Grace Chingoma
Roderick Mutuma quashed all speculation surrounding his future yesterday by declaring that he wasn’t leaving Dynamos and desperately wanted another dance in the Champions League with the Glamour Boys.
The ginger-haired forward has become the subject of a lot of off-season speculation, with the bulk of it coming from social media forums, after his stock rose spectacularly this year.
Mutuma arrived at Dynamos as an unknown quantity at the beginning of the season but, after scoring 14 goals in the Castle Lager Premiership, won the Golden Boot and inspired his team to a league and cup double.
The 23-year-old striker has suddenly become hot property and his value to DeMbare was emphasised by the priceless goals he scored, usually in the big games, which eventually mattered as the Glamour Boys crossed the line first.
Mutuma scored a memorable double against CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium in July, dragging his team from a 0-1 deficit after Evans Gwekwerere had pushed the Green Machine ahead.
He was also on target in the crucial 2-0 win over Motor Action at Rufaro, as Dynamos built the momentum in their championship race. And, as anxiety crept into the DeMbare camp in a final game against a stubborn Kiglon they needed to win, Mutuma eased the pressure with a crucial goal for the lead they never surrendered.
Disqualified from the Soccer Stars of the Year for accumulating six yellow cards, the majority of which came from his animated way of celebrating his goals, Mutuma answered his critics with the priceless goal that sank the Mighty Bulls in the Mbada Diamonds Cup final.
The internet has been awash with stories that Mutuma is on the verge of leaving DeMbare and some of the reports even claimed that he had crossed into South Africa last week for trials. But yesterday the lanky striker told The Herald that the time was not ripe for him to leave the Glamour Boys and he will be around when the season starts next year.
Mutuma was flanked by one executive members of his management team, Edzai Kasinauyo, who has been advising the striker to continue his learning process at home next year before trying his luck in foreign lands.
“I am not going anywhere. Right now I am just focusing on playing in the Champions League,” said Mutuma, who will be honoured with the Golden Boot award at the Soccer Stars of the Year ceremony on Friday night. I am now a better and experienced player than I was when I played in this year’s Champions League.
“Actually, the matches against MC Alger were some of my first matches in the Premiership, minus the friendly matches. So, next season I am ready to double the effort. If we continue from where we left, I am sure we will do well in the Champions League.
“Everyone in the team is ready to fight because we want to do well and maybe win the trophy. I am enjoying my game and I credit my success to teamwork. I wouldn’t have achieved what I did without my teammates.”
Mutuma’s manager, Kasinauyo, said the 23-year-old forward has a two-year contract with Dynamos, which expires end of next year, and there was no need to rush for a foreign deal.
“There is a lot of demand from South African clubs but what we have to look at is the big question of whether this is the right time,” said Kasinauyo.
“We even had a few calls from Europe but it is not about jumping at every phone call that comes your way. It is about making the right move at the right time. He is staying at Dynamos. He has done very well and it would only be fair for him to be part of the team in the Champions League and play a part there.
“He is not even going for trials during this off season. He needs to rest and prepare for the new season and the Champions League.” Kasinauyo believes Mutuma was at the right team to make him develop into an even better player next season. The pressure from the Dynamos fans is relentless and Mutuma has acknowledged that it drove him to heights he never believed he could scale.
“He is at a place where he has played in the PSL for one year and finished as the top goal scorer, and looking at his background, and the teams he has played for before, there is potential that needs to be tapped,” said Kasinauyo. “Many youngsters’ careers are finished before their full potential is even released.
“There is need to take things step-by-step and he now needs to start featuring in the national team. It is unfortunate he couldn’t make it to the Warriors Cecafa squad due to Mbada Diamonds Cup commitments. “Norman (Mapeza) is a good coach and a professional one and is obviously taking note and when the time is ripe he will play in the national team.”
Kasinauyo, who negotiated the deals that took Knowledge Musona and a host of other players to South Africa, said there was a big risk in joining Super Diski midway through the season.
“It is also very tricky to join the South African league halfway through the season because whoever is looking at beefing their squads would be in trouble or are under pressure and the player would also be under pressure to deliver,” said Kasinauyo.
“We are looking at the bigger picture of his career and there is no need to rush him. The club deserves his services, they have supported him and now they should also benefit.”
Mutuma has become a household name overnight and, interestingly, when Ian Gorowa said there was something special in the striker, after watching him in just one game, many critics dismissed the coach” observation.
However, Gorowa has since been proved right with Mutuma pushing all the strikers in the domestic Premiership into the shade.
The scars from DeMbare’s controversial elimination at the hands of MC Alger in the Champions League this year appear to be still haunting the Glamour Boys and pushing the players the do even better next season.
Captain Desmond Maringwa exclusively revealed to The Herald that he will not be retiring as he wanted to guide this group of players to make a big mark in the Champions League next season. Dynamos have already lost Archford Gutu, who will now play in Sweden, while Murape Murape has retired.
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