By Eddie Chikamhi
Dynamos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (2) 2
CAPS United . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (1) 1
HARARE – Dynamos new-boy Erick Opoku dished out a glimpse of what could be in store for the new season when he scored on his debut appearance for the Glamour Boys to give the Harare giants victory over arch-rivals CAPS United in the semi-final of the ZNA Charity match at Rufaro on Sunday.
The Ghanaian was given a starting place for the first time yesterday and his 15th minute goal was one of the highlights of the match after both sides had rested their entire first teams in preparation for the new season.
Opoku gave DeMbare the goal after Patrick Khumbula had put David “Yogi” Mandigora’s men in the lead early in the match with a rising effort after getting acres of space inside the box five minutes into the game.
Former Highlanders midfielder Hillary Madzivanyika, who is on trial at the Green Machine, reduced the arrears when he scrambled the ball home on 31 minutes after the Dynamos defenders had failed to deal decisively with a corner kick.
DeMbare could have made it three before the half-time break but Young Warriors midfielder Carlos Rusere’s brilliantly struck effort on the edge of the box was denied by the crossbar in the 44th minute.
Dynamos will now meet old rivals Highlanders in the final on a date to be given by the Premier Soccer League after the Bulawayo giants dispatched Luke Masomere’s star-studded How Mine 1-0 at Barbourfields yesterday.
The Glamour Boys coach Mandigora said he was hoping to build on the back-to-back wins over their bitter rivals in the last two competitive outings as they prepare for their opening match in defence of the league championship at home against Buffaloes at the National Sports Stadium this coming Saturday.
This was the third time the two giants had clashed in the pre-season following earlier meetings in the Sino-Zim Cement Cup when Makepekepe edged their opponents 6-5 on penalties and last weekend’s Bob Super Cup final won by Dynamos 1-0.
“It’s a good win for our supporters,” said Mandigora.
“They are happy but for us it’s a pre-season and I think it’s a good preparation for our league game next weekend. I can say I am happy and we are ready for the league championship.
“The result doesn’t really matter but I think we achieved what we wanted during the pre-season. It’s good also for the supporters and the players to get into the championship with a winning mentality,” said Mandigora.
DeMbare fielded a number of fringe players with new-boy Qadr Amini and Walter Mukanga the only survivors from the team that started last week.
They started off well dominating the early exchanges and quickly raced into a deserved lead. Makepekepe, on the other hand, were shaky, lacking self-confidence and on both occasions they had only themselves to blame.
Khumbula had the worst miss of the match when he failed to connect with his head a cross from Rusere from the left flank. However, it appears the nearside assistant referee had his flag up for off-side.
The burly striker quickly made amends when he found himself unmarked with enough space before unleashing a rising shot that beat goalkeeper Itai Chiwara.
Opoku then demonstrated excellent technique when DeMbare caught Makepekepe on a counter-attack with a long ball from the goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga.
The CAPS United defenders could only head it back to Opoku who controlled and sent his marker the wrong way and then produced a fine finish with his left foot just at the edge of the box.
The Green Machine fielded a completely changed side from the one that lost 1-0 in the Bob 91 Super Cup to the same opponents last week.
Diminutive midfielder Chrispen Machisi, who was a 73rd minute substitute last week, was the only player who featured in both games.
Their coach Harrison was brave enough to make wholesale changes as he fielded a number of trialists and a glut of youngsters among them talented 17-year old Blessing Nyamuzihwa, who looked more like a Form Two schoolboy than a professional footballer.
The teenage winger got his opportunity in the 75th minute when another youngster Valentine Musarurwa, who played at right-back, was stretchered off the pitch injured. Makepekepe coach Harrison said he was not worried about yesterday’s result as he was looking more into the future.
“He is a 17-year-old-boy and has some fine talents. What a pleasure for him to come and play in game like this today. He played 20 minutes. It’s exciting for him.
“It gives him exposure and he can only benefit from it. He is the future of CAPS United. So we got to look to the future. This isn’t about today, it’s about the future,” said Harrison.
Makepekepe also had impressive young players like Tino Muskwe, who was later pulled out to pave way for Blessing Biseck, a product of the Monomotapa junior development.
There were also glimpses from Kudzai Nyamufukudza, who was given a starting place in his second pre-season derby, and second half substitute Tatenda Munaapi.
Harrison was also pleased with the industry of holding midfielder Lundula Ahoka on trial from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“This game was more of an exhibition game than a serious one. Next week is when we start winning games.
“I am happy. It’s good to expose them into a hostile environment, great time to expose them. If you don’t expose them they never grow and if you don’t grow them you don’t have players for the future. That’s what we are trying to do and I am pleased with them.
“We are looking forward to next weekend’s kick-off of the league championship. That’s what we are here for, it’s business. We will have a strong side next weekend. I had five injured players and I couldn’t have played them if I had wanted to.
“Rodreck (Mutuma) was injured, Moses (Muchenje) was injured, Lenny (Tsipa) was injured, and the list goes on. So I couldn’t play any of them if I had wanted to but that’s not the point. The point was we had a great opportunity to play some young players today and some trialists and I think we did,” said Harrison.
Makepekepe will begin their quest in the league against Whawha at Ascot next Sunday.
Dynamos: T. Mateyaunga, B. Moyo, Q. Amini, E. Muroiwa, N. Gandari, M. Makopa, W. Mukanga, C. Rusere (C. Sekete, 57th minute), E. Opoku (K. Chimbadzwa, 59th minute), O. Machapa, P. Khumbula (F. Mupasiri, 88th minute).
CAPS United: I. Chiwara, V. Musarurwa (B. Nyamuzihwa, 75th minute), T. Chiworeso, C. Mutero, G. Nyirenda, L. Ahoka, H. Madzivanyika, T. Muskwe (Z. Biseck, 61st minute), C. Machisi, K. Nyamufukudza, I. Thindwa (T. Munaapi, 69th minute). The Herald