Dynamos captain Desmond Maringwa has apologised to the club’s fans for the team’s dismal performance in the defeat to Highlanders in the Independence Trophy final on Monday, a result that broke the Harare soccer giants’ five-year dominance over their perennial rivals.
The last time Dynamos lost a match to Highlanders in all competitions was way back in 2006 when they suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League.
However, DeMbare’s performance on Monday was in sharp contrast to that of a team who used to easily brush aside their bitter foes with cold efficiency.
They were also a far cry from their pre-season devastating form, which saw them amassing three trophies, the Bob 87 Super Cup, Venture for Victory Cup and the Charity Shield.
The ageing Dynamos midfield comprised of veteran Maringwa and Murape Murape struggled with the Highlanders pace while Tawanda Muparati and Milton Makopa were either slow in releasing passes to strikers or just sloppy.
Striker Martin Vengesai was the only visible player on the Dynamos team with his darting runs on the flanks but his partner upfront Rodrick Mutuma was just out of form.
Young Warriors winger Rahman Kutsanzira gave David Kutyauripo and Augustine Mbara a torrid time on the wings and if it was not for the brilliance of goalkeeper Washington Arubi, who denied Vincent Nzombe (thrice), Gift Lunga, Kutsanzira, Njabulo “JB” Ncube and Lawson Nkomo, the out-of-sorts Dynamos could have been simply pulverised.
Highlanders eventually won the match 4 – 3 after a penalty shootout but on reflection, Bosso could have easily buried the match during regulation time.
Nkomo, Misheck Mburayi, Gilbert Banda and JB scored during the penalty shootout to recover from an earlier scare when Arubi had saved Innocent Mapuranga’s spot kick.
Kutyauripo, Farai Vimisai, George Magariro all scored for Dynamos before the responsibility fell to Guthrie Zhokinyi to redeem himself after he had previously fluffed his spot kick in the first half, but the defender failed to hold his nerve and skied the ball.
Maringwa was given the task to take the decisive penalty, but the captain dragged his foot wide as the National Sports Stadium’s deafening noise came to an abrupt pause.
“All I can say is, I’m sorry guys,” Maringwa wrote on his “wall” on social network Facebook just after the match.
He also told NewsDay Sport yesterday: “I know it’s painful to the supporters to lose to Highlanders after we had raised so much expectations in the last games, but the players are equally devastated and as for me I couldn’t even sleep well yesterday. I could feel the pain inside me and it took me a long time to come to terms that we had lost to Highlanders. But it’s one of those things that happen in soccer; we win some and lose some, hopefully the supporters will understand.”
Despite a good showing in the pre-season, the Dynamos camp seems to be crumbling with each day and some critics have even gone on to describe the current Dynamos team as the worst ever in the history of the club.
The team has already crashed out of the Caf Champions League at the first hurdle, the first time they have failed at this stage since the competition was rebranded, and their monopoly over Highlanders has screeched to a halt, yet the captain still has faith in the team.
“We have been playing good football and the expectations were high that we would do well in the Champions League, but unfortunately it didn’t work well. However, we still have a long way to go and the season is very long, the most important thing now is on how we pick ourselves up going forward. It was a learning process for some of the players who joined the team this year, but I still believe it’s one of the best teams to be assembled at Dynamos,” said Maringwa.