By Augustine Hwata
DYNAMOS playmaker Denver Mukamba returned home yesterday after a three-week sojourn in South Africa and could play for the Glamour Boys in the high-profile Harare Derby showdown against CAPS United at Rufaro on Saturday.
Mukamba has been trying to secure a deal at Bidvest Wits and even played for them in a pre-season tournament at the weekend. But it appears some complications have arisen and he arrives home just in time to be squeezed into the De-Mbare team ahead of their showdown against the Green Machine on Saturday.
The Premiership’s flagship encounter appeared set to be postponed on Tuesday after its Sunday slot clashed with the Young Warriors’ African Youth Championship qualifier against Angola at Rufaro.
With the Angolans set to use Rufaro for training on Saturday, chances of a compromise being struck appeared remote with Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze insisting that any league match in the capital this weekend would be a counter-attraction to the international tie.
DeMbare were also concerned about a Saturday date against CAPS United because of fears that a game on such a day did not have the same drawing powers of spectators as one held on a Sunday.
But a compromise was found yesterday and the Glamour Boys, after consultations that involved the PSL and Zifa, decided to stage the big match at Rufaro on Saturday. It means the Angolans will train at Rufaro after the DeMbare/CAPS showdown. PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele confirmed that the big game was on.
“The game between Dynamos and CAPS will be played on Saturday at Rufaro,” said Ndebele. “I am just getting the confirmation now and have advised the CAPS guys. We will work out a special arrangement for the training for the (Angolan) national team.”
Ndebele said they could not have taken the league match to Gwanzura because of the expected huge crowd while the National Sports Stadium has been closed for work being done on the playing surface. “It’s a huge relief to be able to get this game going this weekend. At least we could, in a way, clear the backlog.
“We could not have taken the game to the National Sports Stadium because it is closed while Gwanzura is also out because we expect close to 30 000 people. Next week, Dynamos will travel to FC Platinum to complete the round 15 fixtures while the other clubs start the reverse fixtures.
“FC Platinum will come to Harare during the midweek for the round 16 and Dynamos will only have to await for the outstanding game with Hwange,” said Ndebele.
One of the options explored yesterday on a busy day for the officials was for Dynamos to travel to Zvishavane this weekend for a date against FC Platinum and then have the Harare Derby next Sunday.
But that was also shot down because it would have been unfair to just order FC Platinum to play such a big match, on a notice of just four days, when their minds were set for next Sunday.
DeMbare officials also realised that they could miss the chance to cash in on the month-end, should they lose the opportunity of having the game played this weekend, and decided to settle for Saturday.
“We looked at the fact that this is a month-end and a lot of people have disposable income and we could maximise on that and, if we lose it, we could pay a big price in terms of gate-takings,” said Dynamos secretary-general Ray Kazembe.
“The good thing is that we have found a solution and we would like to thank Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze whom we worked with all day to get this thing sorted out, and he was very helpful.
“We expect a huge crowd, but we have also realised that gate control is compromised whenever we have a big match, because of challenges that are encountered in change transactions. We have, therefore, settled for a US$5 price for the cheapest ticket and then we have US$10 and US$15 for the other bays.”
Mashingaidze yesterday said Zifa were giving the match the greenlight on Saturday. CAPS United chief executive Maxwell Mironga yesterday said they were ready for the challenge. “We had been told that the game could be played on Saturday since Sunday was occupied.
“So we never stopped preparing and our team is more than ready to play Dynamos,” said Mironga. CAPS United are lying in ninth position and are five points behind Dynamos, who are in seventh place. Highlanders lead the table with 33 points.
“This match is coming at a time Dynamos are just above us. “A win for us will see us closing the gap, so it’s going to be a big match and we cannot run away from it,” said Mironga. DeMbare vice-chairman Webster Chikengezha said his club needed to remain strong during a very tough period for them.
“Personally, I think it’s going to be very taxing for us to play four consecutive tough league games. It will exert some mental pressure on the team, but there is nothing we can do because we have to clear the outstanding games. We had this backlog because of the Caf matches and I just hope that we will be equal to the task,” said Chikengezha.
At least, DeMbare can now have Mukamba back and the forward last featured for the Glamour Boys in their 1-0 defeat to Harare City on June 20. The lanky midfielder was the fall guy as he received a red card towards the end of the game.
Mukamba immediately left for South Africa and missed the league matches against Gunners, Quelaton, Hardbody and the Caf Confederation Cup play-off against Angolan side Interclube in Luanda. Again, Mukamba was not available for the Battle of Zimbabwe against Highlanders at Barbourfields on Sunday.
His return coincide with the departure of Takesure Chinyama, who has been a very key player for DeMbare, who began his new life at Orlando Pirates yesterday. Inspirational goalkeeper Washington Arubi is still holed up in South Africa with Pretoria University only waiting for DeMbare to put pen to paper to the offer they sent.
Mukamba will arrive at a DeMbare side that has been refreshed, especially in its attack, by the positive impact that has been made by rising teenage winger, Tichaona Mabvura and Farai Mupasiri.
Mabvura was again brilliant for the Glamour Boys at Barbourfields, handling the pressure like a veteran, and providing the decisive pass that split the Bosso defence to help Chinyama fire the opener. Mupasiri missed the game because of injury.
CAPS United, who dream of a very good second half of the season, will certainly give Shingi Kawondera his first taste of the Harare Derby magic. Although the Green Machine has struggled in recent games, they usually rise against their bitter rivals and their performance, against the big teams, has been good.
CAPS United destroyed FC Platinum 3-1 at the National Sports Stadium on the back of an impressive attacking display. With more than 25 000 fans having watched the Battle of Zimbabwe at Barbourfields, the PSL expect a bigger crowd at Rufaro this Saturday.
Last year, the league moved all the Dynamos/CAPS United matches to the National Sports Stadium and their last encounter, in the Mbada Diamonds Cup first round, more than 32 000 people paid their way into the giant stadium. The Herald
Dynamos v CAPS (Rufaro)
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