This weekend it’s all about the Mbada Diamonds Cup football fiesta.
As Shooting Stars trot onto the turf at Maglas Stadium tomorrow, the dominant question is whether they will be able to shine at last by getting passage into the semi-finals of the Mbada Diamonds Cup at the expense of a Dynamos side who have beaten them in all their meetings since 2006.
The Wild Boys — hovering in the drop zone with only four matches left before the curtain comes down on the soccer calendar — come face-to-face with Dynamos in the quarter-finals.
Statistics between the two teams are startling, with Joesten Mathuthu’s men not having managed to beat Dynamos in their meetings since 2006 and tomorrow’s match appears to be weighing heavily on the Wild Boys.
In March 2006, Dynamos defeated Shooting Stars 1-0 before handing them a 2-0 defeat in the reverse fixture and followed that up with back-to-back wins in league games in 2007. In 2008, DeMbare triumphed 2-0 on May 25 before edging them 1-0 in the reverse fixture on October 29.
In 2009 and 2010, it was the same story as Dynamos emerged victorious in all the encounters. This year, Shooting Stars have also failed to find an answer against a well-oiled Dynamos, suffering back-to -back defeats.
But Dynamos can underestimate Shooting Stars at their own peril as Mathuthu will be hoping to add them to his team’s skeleton cabinet which already has Hwange, whom they dumped out of the richest knockout tournament in local football following a 1-0 victory in the first round.
But Dynamos have been in top form since Calisto Pasuwa took over the reins. Pasuwa, who replaced Lloyd Mutasa after a spate of poor results, posted an emphatic 4-1 victory over Shooting Stars in his first game in charge and has lost just once against Masvingo United.
He has won six league games. Pasuwa posted another crucial 1-0 victory over rivals Caps United in the first round of the Mbada Diamonds Cup before beating old foes Highlanders 3-1 in a league game.
Speaking to NewsDay Sports, Shooting Stars head coach Mathuthu said they had done all the preparations which were always the same week in week out.
“The preparations are always the same despite the team that we will be playing. I know my boys are bubbling with confidence and I expect experience to be the best bet for us to boot out DeMbare. I have experienced players like Elliot Matsika, Muchineripi Muneri, Willard Manyatera, Tofireyi Sambo and Eddie Mashiri to steer the ship to the semi-finals of the Cup,” Mathuthu said.
It was a busy day indeed at Raylton Sports Club as the DeMbare family went through their paces under the watchful eye of head coach Callisto “Marabhundu” Pasuwa, assistant coaches Tonderai “Stanza” Ndiraya and Tichaona Diya.
All Dynamos regulars that include goalkeeper Washington Arubi, David Kutyauripo, Guthrie Zhokinyu, George Magariro, Milton Makopa, Denver Mukamba, Archford Gutu and the man-of-the-moment, Rodrick Mutuma, were available for training, plotting the Elite Boys’ downfall.
Not visible in the group were Thomas Magorimbo, Farai Vimisayi and captain Desmond Maringwa who is still on the injury list.
Action begins this afternoon when Kiglon Bird take on Zimbabwe Saints. “Chauya Chikwata” booked their quarter-finals place after beating city rivals Highlanders through a penalty shootout.
What is certain is that one of the teams facing relegation will reach the semi-final as Kiglon clash with “Chauya Chikwata” at Chishamiso in Hippo Valley. FC Platinum will be on a revenge mission as they take on Gunners in yet another quarter-final match in Hwange.
It will be revenge mission indeed as Gunners derailed FC Platinum’s chances of winning the championship after beating them 2-1 in their last league encounter last Saturday
Two of the traditional football giants, Highlanders and Caps United, were booted out in the first round of the tournament. Motor Action play Blue Ribbon at Torwood in Redcliff.