By Eddie Chikamhi
Gift Muzadzi has challenged the trio of the Dynamos goalkeepers to use the coronavirus lockdown period wisely as no-one is guaranteed a starting place when the league eventually gets underway.
Muzadzi, who has been in the business for close to three decades as player and specialist goalkeepers’ trainer, faces a positive headache ahead of the start of the 2020 season.
DeMbare this year have an experienced set of goalkeepers who include the trusted Warriors fringe goalkeeper Simba Chinani, veteran Munyaradzi Diya and agile former Hwange gloveman Taimon Mvula.
“Usually, there is no two ways about the choice of the first-choice goalkeeper. The best performing player, or the one in top form at that particular time, gets the preference. That is where it is different with the selection of the rest of the infield players.
‘‘A coach can tamper around with positions and tactics to accommodate one trusted infield player but you cannot do that with the goalkeeper, it’s too risky.
“Apart from that, this is a very sensitive area. If the team loses the goalkeeper, as the last man in defence, is usually the first to get the scrutiny. ‘‘How did we concede when your job is to guard against letting in goals? These guys come under a serious spotlight all the time, sometimes justified and sometimes not,” said Muzadzi.
Chinani, who is the youngest at 24, has made the DeMbare number one jersey his own in the last two seasons. This has seen the former Yadah Stars goalkeeper getting national team call-ups ahead of some established names.
His form also earned him a trial stint in Russia where he spent a month, earlier this year before returning home to extend his stay at DeMbare.
Diya, who is the oldest of the three as he turns 35 this year, will be in his final year at the Glamour Boys and has everything to play for.
He boasts a strong resume, having played for the country’s Big Three — Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United. However, he struggled to break into the starting line-up, on his return to the Glamour Boys last year, when he was in the shadows of Chinani.
New recruit Mvula is also an exciting prospect.
He has spent most of his career at Hwange, a club famed for producing quality players, despite having its problems in failing to keep its Premiership status.
He joined Hwange in 2010, having started off with the juniors’ side, before being promoted to the senior team.
Muzadzi said the situation reminds him of his playing days at Dynamos when he was in competition with Ernest Chirambadare and George Mandizvidza.
“Competition makes one a better goalkeeper. It helps you to be focused, confident and helps grow your career.
“You don’t have to be too comfortable because you are commanding the starting place.
“This reminds me of the good old days, the competition that we had with the likes of George Mandizvidza and Ernest Chirambadare. You would feel the pressure from Tuesday to Sunday because the team wants results. The moment you slip up, someone else would step up to grab the opportunity with both hands and you would find it difficult to come back again.’’
Muzadzi has been several Warriors caps and also was part of the 2006 team that was in Egypt for the AFCON finals under the guidance of former coach Charles Mhlauri. The Herald