DYNAMOS coach Kalisto Pasuwa yesterday took a huge gamble by naming players implicated in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal in his final squad to face Moses Chunga’s Gunners in the Mbada Diamonds Cup quarter-final tomorrow.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA SPORTS REPORTER
The two teams clash at Torwood Stadium in Kwekwe with the ticket to the semi-finals of the country’s richest football knock-out competition up for grabs.
The defending champions have eight players who are facing punishment from the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) for their involvement in tours to Asia with the Warriors where they played fixed matches.
Captain Guthrie Zhokinyi was banned for life yesterday, David Kutyauripo, Cliff Sekete, Milton Makopa, Tawanda Muparati, George Magariro, Wonder Sithole and Martin Vengesai are all facing likely sanctions from Zifa for participating in fixed matches.
Zifa have said a total of 13 players and officials face life bans from all football activities while seven face a 10-year ban.
A further 37 face five-year bans and an additional 25 would be slapped with two-year prohibitions while eight players would be exonerated.
A Dynamos source on Thursday revealed to NewsDay Sport that the fingered eight were not in the right frame of mind to take part in tomorrow’s match.
However, Pasuwa yesterday took an enormous risk by including five of the eight implicated players in his travelling squad.
Zhokinyi, Kutyauripo, Sekete, Muparati and Vengesai are in the 19-member squad expected to board the bus to Kwekwe today. Makopa and Magariro are out injured while Sithole failed the grade.
“All the players are looking fine. No player is showing any bad signs. Everything is looking normal at the moment. Everyone is ready to play on Sunday,” said Dynamos assistant coach Tichaona Diya after the team’s training session yesterday.
“We have been telling affected players not to think much about this Asiagate thing and their reaction has been fantastic. We are trying to be positive in everything we do. Preparations have gone very well despite all this talk around some of our players,” Diya added.
Dynamos have named a virtually unchanged side from the one that beat Hwange in a Premier League match two weeks ago.
Only striker Rodreck Mutuma has been included in the team. Midfielder Timire Mamvura has made way.
“We have given our players a strong warning against complacency. We have been emphasising that issue for the whole week. Cup games are always tricky and as defending champions, we will be playing under a bit of pressure because we want to retain the cup.”
Gunners yesterday decided to play their cards close to their chests with their assistant coach Thanks Tengwe only saying: “We are going to win the match. That is all I can say.”
The last time the two teams met in a league match, Dynamos beat their rivals 4-0, with all the goals coming in the second half.
The match was coach Moses Chunga’s first assignment since rejoining Gunners.