By Ishemunyoro Chingwere
HARARE – Dynamos coach Callisto Pasuwa has urged his players to overcome psychological hurdles that have seen them acquiring only nine points out of a possible 21. The gaffer is worried that if his players do not change their mindset, the slide might continue.
Expectations had soared in the defending champions’ camp following last weekend’s victory over Tripple B, but again they flattered to deceive and were restricted to a draw in midweek by spirited log leaders FC Platinum.
“I think the problem is now psychological, because once we concede, they (players) start saying ‘for goodness’ sake the draws are back to haunt us’, but as coaches we will keep encouraging them that if we take a lead, let’s fight to preserve it because a win is born from leading.
If you look at the way we played in the last match (against FC Platinum), we did very well, especially in the first half, and we should have wrapped it up. That kind of performance should give us the inspiration and self-belief against Monoz,” said Pasuwa.
“Chinomakwa Nani’’, as Monomotapa are fondly referred to, come into the match hard-pressed, with most of their regular starters struggling to regain fitness after a reportedly physical duel away to Triangle in midweek.
In addition to striker Hillary Mugoniwa who is yet to recover from the knee injury he suffered against Shabanie, Monoz were by yesterday still sweating over the availability of skipper Kuda Musharu, central defender Last Sithole (both ankle), striker Ishmael Lawe, midfielder Bizerk Zvikomborero, goalkeeper Tapiwa Zvaita (knee) and Obey Mwerahari (thigh).
Save for Mugoniwa, all of Monomotapa’s injury worries are the price they paid for the point they snatched from Triangle in midweek and Biggie Zuze reckoned match officials were giving his side, best known for its free-flowing passing game, a raw deal.
Zuze was, however, optimistic that their medical team led by Loveness Mangena will sort out all the team’s injury concerns in time for the DeMbare duel. He also said he was using some of the experience he gained from his days as a Dynamos player to psyche up his charges.
“Playing against Dynamos usually comes with a lot of pressure because of the large crowds that are synonymous with their matches, but that is the kind of pressure that I have always refused to be put under.
“Most of my players have never played before a bumper crowd that is obviously going to attend the match and, being a former Dynamos player, I know what it is like and have been telling my players not to look much into it, but just play their normal game.
“I have also told them that the crowd also appreciates good football so if they play well, they will certainly get plaudits at the expense of the opponent,” said Zuze whom the DeMbare faithful used to call “Bindura Part I’’ during his playing days.
While Bindura Part I was optimistic on the availability of his injured stars, Pasuwa will have to make do without Russel Madamombe whose one-year loan deal bars him from playing against his former side.
Cliff Sekete, who came worse off an Ali Sadiki challenge in midweek, is yet to recover, and the same applies to midfielder Stephen Alimenda (hamstring). Striker Patrick Khumbula (suspension) will take no part in today’s fixture.
Goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi, whose legs are swollen resulting in excruciating pain, is — according to Pasuwa — the latest victim of the same mysterious condition suffered by midfielder Milton Makopa who will play no part in today’s match.
Francesco Zekumbawire, Augustine Mbara and Clive Kawinga are also still out. DeMbare will be relieved that George Chigova is back from suspension and will take his place in goal with Partson Jaure, Gift Bello, Ocean Mushure and Thomas Magorimbo almost certain to form his back four.
Devon Chafa will anchor the midfield in the absence of Alimenda and will probably have Tawanda Muparati, skipper Murape Murape and Ugandan international Boban Zirintusa for company where they have a busy afternoon against Monoz talisman Ronald Chitiyo.
Washington Pakamisa’s role in search for goals is assured. There should be a fierce battle for the right to partner him, but Farai Mupasiri looks set to get the nod. Subject to a late fitness test, Monoz, according to Zuze, will accommodate Ronald Chitiyo in the 11 that drew with Triangle.
Meanwhile, Monoz successfully applied to hike entrance fees and fans will need to part with US$5 for the rest of the ground, US$10 for the western grandstand and US$20 for VIP.