AFTER completing a Premier Soccer League double on Sunday, Dynamos have shifted their focus to the Mbada Diamonds Cup final where they face Monomotapa in the season-ending finale at Rufaro Stadium on Saturday.
REPORT BY WELLINGTON TONI SPORTS EDITOR
Dynamos are the defending champions in the competition, having beaten Motor Action 1-0 in last year’s final at the National Sports Stadium after Rodreck Mutuma scored the priceless goal on a wet day.
The champions claimed their 19th league crown on Sunday after a 1-1 draw with Hardbody ensuring they finished on 69 points — the same as second-placed Highlanders, who beat Blue Rangers 2-0. They however, won on goal difference.
Dynamos coach Kalisto Pasuwa told the media after the crowning moment on Sunday that he was already looking to this weekend’s final.
“Everything is possible. After winning this one (league title), we are looking forward to yet another double this year, but Monomotapa are a tough side,” he said.
The last two meetings between the two clubs have left matters even, and the “arbitration” on Saturday will show who rules the roost. Monomotapa beat Dynamos 1-0 in the first Premiership fixture, but the champions responded with a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture.
Dynamos, who received congratulatory messages from former players Cuthbert Malajila and Justice Majabvi immediately after Sunday’s victory, know an even tougher hurdle lies ahead on Saturday against Monomotapa, who finished in fourth position due to an inferior goal difference against Chicken Inn.
Dynamos provided Denver Mukamba and Patson Jaure to the final 11 best players of the year while Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo was the only player from Monomotapa to make the cut despite a good run this season.
This is the talent that will be on display this Saturday as the league champions seek a unique “double” league and cup double.
Monomotapa have been on the rise in the last few years mainly due to good planning and proper administration and do not deserve to walk away empty-handed after unearthing such stars like Chitiyo.
Coach Biggie Zuze said last Saturday, on the sidelines of the Soccer Star of the Year selection, that Chitiyo was plucked from Epworth and had never looked back since then.
Besides Chitiyo, Russel Madamombe, Osbourne Mukuradare, Hillary Mugoniwa, goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi and veterans Kuda Musharu and Makai Kawashu have been a cut above the rest, combining efficiency and a passing game.
This is the club’s first ever cup final and Zuze and his players are looking forward to making some history. Their opponents, Dynamos, have been known to grind our results even in the toughest of the situations without necessarily playing a beautiful game.
Mutuma has suddenly hit top form towards the end of the season and would certainly want to make another difference this year.
Simba Sithole, formerly of Caps United and Mamelodi Sundowns, has been scoring for fun and no wonder South African club Bloemfontein Celtic are in the hunt for his signature.
Teams knocked out in the first round will receive at least $10 000, quarter-finalists will receive $20 000 each while the two losers in the semi-finals, FC Platinum and Caps United will get $30 000 each.
Both Dynamos and Monomotapa are already assured of at least $60 000 each for making the final. The winner will walk home with $100 000, a floating trophy plus $150 000 for the Caf Confederation Cup participation to take the total to $250 000.
Dynamos, who have already confirmed they will play in the Caf Champions League, will not get this money, neither will Chicken Inn, who will play with Monomotapa in the Confederation Cup as they have not reached the final.
So, even before the final starts, the $150 000 subsidy belongs to Monomotapa, giving them a financial head-start ahead of their return to Africa. They played and reached the group stages of the Champions League in 2009.
The following individual prizes will also be awarded:
$1 500 and a trophy for the player of the tournament; $1 000 and a trophy to the goalkeeper of the tournament; $1 000 for the top goal scorer; $500 for the scorer of the last goal of the tournament; and $500 for the player voted man the match from the first round to the final.
At each stage of the tournament, each player received $100 appearance fee (18 per team) while the technical members (seven) received $150 each.