By Eddie Chikamhi
HARARE- Its not normal for Dynamos to lose three games in a row and, for a coach who just lost just one game in all competitions last year as the Glamour Boys powered to a league and cup double, the signs are not looking good.
DeMbare’s house is shaking and coach Callisto Pasuwa is a worried man. When he took over last year, his Glamour Boys lost only one game, a 0-1 defeat in Masvingo, when both Washington Arubi and Cuthbert Malajila were away on national duty.
There were two trophies on offer, when Pasuwa arrived, and DeMbare won both of them — the league and the Mbada Diamonds Cup. On both occasions they crushed the hopes of FC Platinum by defeating the Zvishavane side in the Mbada Diamonds Cup semi-finals at Barbourfields and then beating them in their backyard at Mandava in the decisive league match.
Now, it looks like things are changing, although it’s still early days in the season. FC Platinum already have two trophies to their name — the Bob ’88 Super Cup, which was in DeMbare’s trophy cabinet last year, and the Independence Cup. Dynamos have not only lost one of their two league games, but have been beaten twice by Hwange in Bulawayo and once by Motor Action in knockout tournaments.
Their loss in the City of Kings on Wednesday, at the hands of Hwange, in the Independence Cup third-place play-off, was their third straight defeat. Even after Pasuwa fielded his strongest team, they could not beat the coalminers. No wonder why Pasuwa is worried after losing three games in succession, inside one week, but insists they will not panic ahead of the Champions League assignment in Tunisia next weekend.
The Glamour Boys were left to do a thorough soul-searching following the latest defeat to Hwange in the Independence Trophy bronze medal play-off at White City on Wednesday. The game had ended in a 1-1 stalemate with Takesure Chinyama on target to give the Harare giants a lifeline following Gerald Ndlovu’s opener from the spot.
But they went on to lose 2-4 in the shootout lottery and the loss, which came hot on the heels of the 1-0 league edging by Monomotapa and a 2-1 defeat to Motor Action in the semi-finals of the Uhuru Cup last week, have placed the Harare giants in the corner. Pasuwa said the DeMbare technical team has engaged the players on the latest spate of negative results and is hoping to see an improvement when they host Black Mambas at Rufaro on Sunday.
“We talked with the players about the defeats before we went to Bulawayo and it seems they responded well but the only problem is that we are not taking our chances,” said Pasuwa.
“There are far more important games ahead of us and it’s crucial that we don’t continue on this negative path. The match against Black Mambas at the weekend is very crucial in that it is the last before we go to Tunisia. A win should motivate the players in a great way and we are aiming for that.”
DeMbare are set to resume their African safari next week when they embark on a difficult tour in North Africa for a first round first leg clash against defending champions Esperance of Tunisia. Despite their woes Pasuwa revealed he has faith in his charges but will need them to develop a stronger mental attitude.
However, his side appears to be paying the price for too much reliance on Chinyama who has now scored eight goals in different competitions.
“What is encouraging is that the players are moving into the scoring positions but somehow we are not getting the goals. It’s easy for players to end up getting frustrated especially after going for three games without a win.
“So we are saying we need them to have a strong mindset. The way you respond after a defeat is crucial. We have talked about this and it appears we have some who we still need to work on their mindset. Of course, Takesure has been getting the goals but it doesn’t mean others were not doing enough.
“We are not going to exert extreme pressure on the players but we will keep encouraging them and try as much as we can to psyche them up because I believe the goals will come,” said Pasuwa.
Their rivals FC Platinum’s offensive inadequacies were also exposed despite beating Motor Action in a penalty shootout in the final of the Independence Cup. FC Platinum coach Rahman Gumbo revealed after the match that he is seeking to beef up his strikeforce. Talk is rife that Benjamin Marere could be returning to Zvishavane.
Gumbo, who has been relying on one out-and-out striker, Michelle Katsvairo, since Donald Ngoma got injured just before the start of the season, admitted the department has not been firing. Ironically FC Platinum released a number of forwards including Norman Maroto, Nelson Mazivisa, Ngoni Maviri and Marere from their squad last season.
So dire is the situation that the coaching department has been tempted to convert fullback Khumbulani Banda into a forward but the move hasn’t paid off. Banda was a 74th minute replacement for Charles Sibanda on Sunday as the miners tried to overturn a 1-0 deficit that was ironically inflicted by a player they had off-loaded this season, Maroto, in the 10th minute.
“We are quite aware of the situation. We should be looking to add one or two more strikers in the coming weeks,” said Gumbo. FC Platinum have been linked to Botswana international winger Joel Magorosi who is currently playing for Madinda Ndlovu’s championship-chasing Mochudi Centre Chiefs. Gumbo’s men finished 4-1 victors after the lottery to clinch their second silverware of the season after capturing the Bob ’88 Super Cup in February.
The Zvishavane side have made their ambitions public but Wednesday’s mission nearly came unstuck until the dying moments when leftback Qadr Amini scored a stoppage time equaliser that caught Bulls goalkeeper Marlon Jani unaware to force a shootout lottery. “Motor Action played well and were on top especially in the first half but we came back strongly in the second.
“We were better than them in terms of endurance and after getting the late goal we carried that advantage into the penalty shootout. I think the boys deserved the victory because they gave all their best. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come but we got to keep on working hard,” said Gumbo.
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