Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

A tale of two ailing giants

By Langton Nyakwenda

That debutants Mushowani Stars, with their shoe string budget and a host of average players, have scored eight goals — the same tally as Dynamos and Highlanders combined — tells a sad tale of two ailing giants in urgent need of resuscitation.

Dynamos and Highlanders have the most passionate and loyal fans in domestic football and their intense rivalry has become a subject of academic studies
Dynamos and Highlanders have the most passionate and loyal fans in domestic football

While newly promoted sides Manica Diamonds, TelOne and Mushowani Stars have all notched up their first wins in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League, the division’s oldest team — Highlanders — remain the only side without a victory after eight rounds of action. On the other hand, inconsistent Dynamos are operating like a typical yoyo.

One moment they appear on the path to recovery but when they are about to reach mid-table, they plunge into trouble again like last weekend when they were humbled 2-0 by basement side Bulawayo Chiefs.

This was after they had gone for a three-game unbeaten run under new gaffer Tonderai Ndiraya.

Bosso are second from bottom while DeMbare are 12th and just four points away from the red zone as we approach the first third of the 2019 PSL race.

However, Ndiraya and Highlanders coach Madinda Ndlovu both sounded positive during the week ahead of today’s fixtures. Dynamos host Ndiraya’s former employers Ngezi Platinum Stars at Rufaro while Highlanders clash with TelOne at Barbourfields.

“This game against Ngezi won’t be an easy one for us but we have two good results at home (Rufaro) since my arrival. We are looking for a third and hopefully we will get one against my former paymasters,” said Ndiraya.

Dynamos have won twice at Rufaro, against ZPC Kariba and Yadah Stars since Ndiraya took over from Lloyd “MaBlanyo” Chigowe in April. But Ndiraya knows a good result against Ngezi won’t come cheap. “I have so much respect for them (Ngezi Platinum Stars) individually because of the good moments we shared in the two and half years we worked together.”

In Bulawayo, tormented gaffer Ndlovu introduced more finishing drills and tried various combinations upfront as he seek to end the rot at the league’s best supported team.

“We have tried to add a few more finishing drills but we have not put much pressure on the boys, they have to first of all enjoy the game of football before they can win,” Ndlovu told the media during the week.

Highlanders’ once trusted striker Prince Dube has one goal, the other one has come from keeper Ariel Sibanda who scored from the spot when Bosso drew 1-1 against Black Rhinos during the opening weekend of the 2019 campaign.

“For us, it has been the same old story, missing and missing and missing (chances),” bemoaned Ndlovu, who however remains hopeful that his charges will turn the tables soon. To our best of knowledge, we think we have put together a very formidable team, which can be evidenced by the way we create those scoring opportunities, the way we have moments where we are stronger than opponents but still have nothing to bring home.

“But I believe and still feel the boys will turn around the table,” added Ndlovu.

Former Young Warriors player Nqobizitha Masuku, Cleopas Kapupurika, Brian Banda, Peter Muduhwa and Tendai Ndlovu are some of the seasoned players at Bosso.

Highlanders’ opponents TelOne might be new in the top flight but a number of their players have vast Premiership experience while their gaffer Jairos Tapera is a well-travelled coach with massive knowledge of the top flight league. The Wi-Fi Boys’ inform skipper James Jam is a veteran having seen duty at Motor Action, Harare City and Chapungu while the likes of Frankson Bushiri, Emmanuel Mandiranga and Jacob Muzokomba are all familiar figures.

TelOne sent shock waves across the country on May 12 when they handed champions FC Platinum their first league defeat since September 26, 2018. Elasto Chigora scored the solitary goal that sank Pure Platinum Play on that Saturday afternoon. TelOne are 10th on the log with 10 points from two wins, four draws and two losses.

Fitures

Triangle v Bulawayo (Gibbo)

Mushowani v Harare City (NSS)

Dynamos v Ngezi Platinum (Rufaro)

Hwange v CAPS United (Colliery)

Tel One v Highlanders (Barbourfields). Sunday Mail