By Langton Nyakwenda
During the past few days, a lot has been said about Archford Gutu’s match fitness, or rather lack of it, while his weight has also been a topical subject.
But there was no doubt the veteran linkman still has a golden touch after his exquisite free-kick buried a 10-men Harare City at Rufaro yesterday.
Gutu, a mid-season quick fix signing by Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya, announced his return to the local Premiership with a 31st minute goal that gave DeMbare their first Castle Lager Premiership victory in three matches.
Simba Nhivi was brought down by Munyaradzi Diro Nyenye and DeMbare players appealed for a penalty but referee Ruzive Ruzive judged that the offence had been committed from just outside the box.
When almost everyone thought the left footed Tinotenda Muringani was better positioned to take the set piece, Gutu stepped up and curled the ball beyond the Harare City wall and a bemused Maxwell Nyamupanedengu.
The win, Ndiraya’s fifth since taking over from Lloyd Chigowe on April 25, also pushed Dynamos to fifth position on the log with 23 points, eight behind log leaders FC Platinum who lost 0-1 against Black Rhinos at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.
Ndiraya has presided over 12 matches since taking over from Chigowe and has registered five wins, five draws and two losses.
He has garnered 20 out of a possible 36 points, translating to a 56 percent success rate for the former Ngezi Platinum Stars coach.
Under Ndiraya, Dynamos have conceded six goals in 12 matches and the only time that DeMbare let in more than one goal in a match was during a 0-2 loss against Bulawayo Chiefs on May 18.
Dynamos have kept seven clean sheets in 12 matches and only conceded once at Rufaro in the 1-1 draw against CAPS United last Sunday.
But Dynamos have also not scored more than one goal in a match since Ndiraya assumed the reigns, something that is worrying the Zimbabwe national Under-23 coach.
“This is a team under reconstruction. Basically our target is to restore Dynamos to where it should be, where it belongs. That’s the most important thing.
“I think we had become a laughing stock, we had fallen far, far behind the top teams. We are a big team, of course in terms of stature, but obviously in terms of performance we have been way behind. But slowly that gap is closing.
“My wish is to see the team fighting at the top with the other big boys,” Ndiraya said.
Yesterday, Harare City dominated possession, with rookie winger Shingirai Masukuta showing a lot of promise, but The Sunshine Boys left Rufaro without a point. Masukuta, a product of Harare City’s sound junior development program, was by far the most outstanding player for Mark Mathe’s side and could have levelled the scores in the 62nd minute had Godknows Murwira not thrown his body to block his goal bound shot.
Masukuta came back to haunt Dynamos in the 80th minute but his left footed strike was brilliantly saved by Simba Chinani, who was full of unnecessary showboating throughout the match.
“People will say he (Mathe) has drawn thrice and lost once but no one is looking at the positives. We have a youth developmental team and it is also my duty to bring in young players into the main team.
“As you have seen, Masukuta played like a seasoned player, you couldn’t believe that last season he was playing Division One football,” Mathe told the media.
It ended badly for City as captain Marshal Machazani was red-carded for elbowing his DeMbare counterpart Godfrey “Marabha” Mukambi in the last minute of action.
Mukambi, who skippered DeMbare in the absence of both Edward Sadomba and Jimmy Tigere, had a good show and his performance did not escape Mathe’s eye.
“We changed the format and tactics in the second half. We had two forwards, used a lot of width and a lot of speed but credit to Dynamos. They defended very well, especially Godfrey (Mukambi), this underrated defender from Dynamos.
“I think he defended very well, I have to be honest,” Mathe said.
Harare City dropped to the 12th position on the log. They have 19 points ahead of their trip to play Ngezi Platinum Stars next weekend.
Harare City: M. Nyamupangedengu, M. Machazani, C. Mujuru, T. Chimwemwe, M. Diro Nyenye, S. Masukuta, W. Manondo (M. Vengesayi 57th min), T. Tavengwa, K. Musharu, I. Wadi, M. Mukunga (W. Mukanga 71st min),
Dynamos: S. Chinani, E. Jalai, T. Muringani, G. Murwira, M. Mawadza, A. Maliselo, G. Mukambi, A. Gutu (S. Mupamawonde 85th min), N. Katawa (T. Chisi 68th min), S. Nhivi, J. Selemani (S. Gona 92nd min). The Sunday Mail