By Grace Chingoma
ZPC Kariba coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa is hoping for a massive response from his troops, who have been enduring a horror spell, when they take on Castle Lager Premiership leaders Dynamos at Nyamhunga on Saturday.
The league marathon resumes this Friday after making way for the Chibuku Super Cup quarter-finals last weekend. Following a promising start, ZPC Kariba have fizzled out of the league race and what they are now fighting for is just to remain in a respectable position.
The club was hit by controversy recently when an audio clip, in which Chidzambwa appeared to question the professionalism of the team’s leadership, was leaked to the media.
The recording was done clandestinely by a third party but the owners of the club, ZESA Holdings, put their foot down and ruled that neither Chidzambwa nor the club’s leadership would be sacrificed.
They said a review of the club’s performance will only be done at the end of the season and although Chidzambwa has indicated he will not renew his contract when it expires this year, his employers said they could still offer him a new deal. The DeMbare legend said he won’t do any favours to the club where he made his name and which will always remain his spiritual home.
It will be also a test of the Manguwa theory which caused quite an uproar in domestic football circles when a local business executive, who has done some football punditry for national broadcaster ZTV in the past, announced that FC Platinum will be crowned champions with a two-point advantage at the end of the race.
Spencer Manguwa, who works in the mobile telecommunications industry and is a Dynamos and Liverpool fan, said he expects DeMbare not to win in Kariba.
Chidzambwa is also another DeMbare son but says he has a job to do. “I am a Dynamos son but at the moment I am contracted to ZPC Kariba. So once we are on the pitch, it is a different game altogether and my allegiance will be to my team,’’ he said. “Dynamos have been doing well. They are on top of the log and we haven’t been doing well but we want to do well in this game.
“I am looking at a game of football for 90 minutes. Those who score more goals will come out victors, but it is not going to be an easy match for us.’’ ZPC Kariba will go into the match refreshed from the break where some of their players managed to fully recover from knocks. Players such as Daniel Chakupe, Blessing Nyamuzihwa and Laila Mugoniwa have recovered and would be available for selection.
Turning to the tight league race which is promising to be exciting as the season enters the home stretch, Chidzambwa believes any of the top four teams still have equal chances of claiming it.
“I am very poor in predicting but anyone in the top four have chances to win the league. Seven games are left and the top teams are fighting for 24 points. All of the teams have the chance to win the league,” he said. DeMbare also believe the break helped them with some of their long-term casualties such as Carlos Rusere making a complete recovery. The midfielder is back in training together with utility player Godfrey Mukambi while fellow defender Obey Mwerahari has begun light training.
Team manager Richard Chihoro said they were ready for the challenge. “The break helped our players recover from injuries. All the remaining games are now like Cup games. We are expecting a tough game on Saturday. We are on top of the table but we are not under any pressure because as Dynamos we have been in this position before, so we have got used and should handle the pressure well,” he said.
Friday: Shabanie Mine v Chicken Inn (Maglas, SS).
Saturday: Bulawayo City v Ngezi Platinum (Barbourfields, SS), Tsholotsho v Chapungu (Dulivhadzimo), ZPC Kariba v Dynamos (Nyamhunga), Yadah v Black Rhinos (National Sports Stadium), Harare City v Bantu Rovers (Rufaro), How Mine v Hwange (Luveve).
Sunday: CAPS United v Triangle (NSS), Highlanders v FC Platinum (Barbourfields, SS). The Herald