Veteran Dynamos midfielder Murape Murape — robbed of man-of-the-match accolade and $500 — took fans down memory lane with an inspired performance at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday, that sent his team to the Mbada Diamonds Cup final.
They will play Motor Action who beat Zimbabwe Saints 2-0, on November 27 at either the National Sports Stadium or Rufaro.
The Glamour Boys sneaked into the final of the country’s richest tournament after beating FC Platinum courtesy of a third-minute goal headed in by Cuthbert Malajila in front of a near-capacity crowd that brought Barbourfields Stadium to life after a very long time.
But it was the 31-year-old Murape’s nimbleness, sense of urgency and attacking approach that had Dynamos over-powering the star-studded Moneybags outfit in the match which, however, saw the second half degenerate into a dreary affair.
It was unfortunate the attacking linkman-cum-striker was not crowned man-of-the-match by a clique of sports writers that decided to give the honours to undeserving goalkeeper Washington Arubi, who walked away $500 richer.
Coach Calisto Pasuwa’s Sunday squad was bereft of regular midfielders Tawanda Muparati and Milton Makopa and the mentor thrust in another veteran, Leo Kurauzvione as anchorman, with a solid defence of David Kutyauripo on the right and Thomas Magorimbo on the left, Guthrie Zhokinyi and Gift Bello in the centre.
That kept the usually marauding striking partnership of FC Platinum’s Donald Ngoma and Benjamin Marere at bay, with reigning Footballer of the Year Charles Sibanda tightly marked in the centre by young Devon Chafa.
With Sibanda in safe hands and Joel Ngodzo a bit out of the game, the FC Platinum midfield was lost on mobility and recovery, leaving Murape with space to manoeuvre. He gave defender Khumbulani Banda a hard time on the right flank in the first half.
Murape was four times on the offensive in the first half, spotting his loose strikers Malajila and Rodreck Mutuma, but the goals did not come, with goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube and centre-back Daniel Veremu coming to the rescue.
Dynamos assistant coach Tonderayi Ndiraya said after the match DeMbare’s strategy was to pump the balls forward and take advantage of the FC Platinum defenders’ sluggishness.
Arubi was only tested once by Sibanda in the 28th minute from inside the box after a Ngoma cross and the man-of-the-match accolade left many wondering how it was arrived at.
FC Platinum coach Rahman Gumbo’s body blow was when Sibanda was injured in the 62nd minute and had to be pulled out for William Manondo whose introduction did not, however, change the complexion of the game.
Bhekimpilo Ncube and Norman Maroto, who came in for tightly marked Marere upfront, and Menard Mupera in the centre could not change the platinum miners’ fortunes as Ngoma had a lone battle upfront towards the end of the game.
For Dynamos, Archford Gutu came in for ineffective Denver Mukamba in the second half and he had a few touches on the attack, but his effort was not complemented by Malajila, who missed his cross just after the breather.
The South African referee Victor Hlungwani, with his assistants Sandile Dilikane and Leon Mngqibisa, had a tight grip on the match.
The centre man had endured another match 24 hours earlier pitting Platinum Stars and Santos in the Telkom Cup in Cape Town.
Local referee Mlindeli Ndebele was the fourth official and Zifa vice-president (administration) Ndumiso Gumede was the match commissioner.