DeMbare seek divine intervention
SECOND-placed Dynamos, having lost control of the riveting Castle Lager Premiership race, have now turned to the Almighty God with their assistant coach Zondai Nyaungwa revealing yesterday that they are now praying for divine intervention in their plot for a smash and grab bid on the ultimate prize.
The Harare giants, two points behind leaders and firm favourites FC Platinum with 69 points, will face fourth-placed Chicken Inn at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday. On a massive Super Saturday final day programme for the domestic Premiership, FC Platinum need to win on the road against Chapungu at Ascot to be guaranteed of their maiden title.
But the DeMbare camp, mindful of the fact that fate is no longer into their hands, have now sought divine intervention with the hope that they will beat the Gamecocks while FC Platinum are either held to a draw in Gweru or even lose to a resurgent Chapungu outfit that has only lost once in their last six outings.
Nyaungwa, a member of the 2008 Dynamos squad that defied odds to reach the Champions League semi-final, said they had turned to prayers and have been preaching a gospel of faith to their players. After starting his coaching career with Ngezi Platinum, Nyaungwa was lured to Dynamos by Lloyd Mutasa and has grown to become the DeMbare mentor’s trusted lieutenant.
Nyaungwa said he was also happy with the sense of belief among the largely youthful side that Mutasa assembled at the start of the year with a mission to just accomplish a decent finish. That mission then turned into ambitions for the championship as Dynamos seized on the opportunity to climb up the ladder when they hit the purple patch while the majority of the early pacesetters such as ZPC Kariba and Black Rhinos stumbled.
Now Nyaungwa believes this could yet be the year they reclaimed the title they last won under the Premiership’s history-making coach Callisto Pasuwa in 2014. The Dynamos goalkeeper’s coach normally prefers to stay out of the media spotlight. But yesterday he opened about on his thoughts on the impending Super Saturday drama and reckoned that it will be DeMbare, who will be popping the champagne bottles at the close of business.
“I believe this is our year. We are doing everything by faith. Only the Lord knows what’s in store for us come Saturday evening. We are not concentrating on what will happen to FC Platinum but rather what we will do against Chicken Inn,’’ Nyaungwa said.
Nyaungwa said they were working on ensuring that their players do not wilt under the weight of pressure to overcome Chicken Inn.
“Football matches are all the same so we are just treating this game like all other matches we have played. Everyone is raring to go. We will go and do our job, it will not be an easy game against Chicken Inn but we will be looking for positive result. The boys want to push and fight till the end,” said Nyaungwa.
Prior to featuring in the Champions League, Nyaungwa had won the 2007 league and cup double titles with David Mandigora’s side that also featured fellow goalkeeper Willard Manyatera and included Edward Sadomba, Desmond Maringwa, Murape Murape and Justice Majabvi.
“I won the league title with the club in 2007 and we had self-belief among ourselves. I have been motivating the boys that they should push too,” Nyaungwa said.
Nyaungwa also said they were not regretting the slump of form they endured last month during which they surrendered command of the race after going on a seven-match unbeaten run just before the start of the second period.
But they seemed to choke as they approached the last lap with Ngezi Platinum and Chicken Inn being installed favourites ahead of them to challenge FC Platinum in the race for the championship.
“We are not regretting anything. We believe it was a great thing reaching this stage and we deserved everything that happened to us. Anything can change. Only God knows our tomorrow. We have reached this stage because we deserved it. We are not even regretting that we dropped points, it could have gone either way”.
It is against the background that Nyaungwa believes his boss Mutasa deserves to be honoured ahead of all the other coaches in the Premiership.
“Mutasa has been awesome. In fact I can’t seem to find the right words to describe his season. All the odds were against him at the start of the season but he managed to transform the team and the players. We are on second position with one game remaining. If you look at some of our players, they are now being counted among others. “If you look at players like Peace (Makaha) and Cleopas (Kapupurika), they have been transformed by Lloyd and they had good seasons.
“If there is one who deserves to be called the Coach of the Year, it must be him,” said Nyaungwa.
Last year, CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe was the coach of the year after guiding his team to the championship. The 2017 Soccer Stars will be picked next Tuesday when a panel of journalists, coaches and club captains converge in Harare to select those who were outstanding this season. That selection panel will also pick the best coach and the best goalkeeper and Nyaungwa is hopeful his side will provide at least two of the 11 stars.
“We have players like our captain Ocean Mushure. He was exceptional, as well as Christian (Ntouba) Peace, Tichaona Chipunza and Cleopas, they all did well this season. In my view I believe any of three of these players deserve to be on the calendar this season,” said Nyaungwa.
Saturday: Shabanie Mine v Yadah (Maglas), Harare City v How Mine (Rufaro), ZPC Kariba v Hwange (Nyamhunga), Tsholotsho v Black Rhinos (Dulivadzimo), Bulawayo City v Bantu Rovers (Luveve), Ngezi Platinum v Triangle (Baobab), Highlanders v CAPS United (Barbourfields), Dynamos v Chicken Inn (National Sports Stadium), Chapungu v FC Platinum (Ascot).
By Grace Chingoma