DEFENDING champions Dynamos insist they still have the energy to last the distance, as they wind up a memorable campaign with a clash against a gritty Monomotapa in the lucrative Mbada Diamonds Cup final at Rufaro Stadium today.
REPORT BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Dynamos have played more games than any other team in the Premiership this season after taking part in the Caf Champions League and the Confederation Cup, but still reserved the best to beat rivals Highlanders to the championship silverware by a superior goal difference after the two teams had finished tied on 69 points.
That success saw Kalisto Pasuwa emulating Sunday Chidzambwa and Shephered Murape — the only other coaches to win back-to-back league titles when they were at the helm of Dynamos.
Winning the Mbada Diamonds Cup will be another milestone for the club. But Pasuwa’s men have not been convincing in their last matches of the season with fatigue appearing to be taking its toll on players.
That their last league match against already relegated Hardbody ended all square at 1-1, highlighted the point.
Monomotapa proved to be the masters of their own downfall in their last meeting against Dynamos in the league after going down 1-2 having raced into the lead. While the scoreline was close, the contest was not, as “Monoz” dominated the better part of the match forcing Dynamos to rely on long balls to break through.
But assistant coach Tonderayi Ndiraya, while admitting they were feeling the effects of fatigue, insisted they had a plan to deny Monomotapa the silverware.
“We have played more games than any other team in the league and you could see in our last game that our players looked tired, but we still have the energy to last the distance. Dynamos is a big institution and you can’t just walk into Rufaro and expect to come out there with a win. We will give Monomotapa what they deserve,” said Ndiraya.
However, Monoz coach Biggie Zuze — also a Dynamos son having been involved in many a cup final battles during his hey days at the Harare giants — dismissed the suggestion that his team, playing for the first time in the richest knockout cup in the country, might succumb to pressure.
“It’s not the first time to be playing in this cup. But we always treasure the first things in life, that is playing in the final. We were the first team to beat Highlanders and will beat Dynamos in the Mbada Cup. They have got a history, but it’s just history. We will beat them. In our last meeting we ‘beat’ ourselves. We conceded soft goals,” Zuze said.
Monomotapa have potential match winners in star midfielder Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo, already named among the 11 Soccer Stars of the Year, Osborne Mukuradare and Russel Madamombe.
However, the 2008 league champions will have to roll up their sleeves, as they face a team with one of the best midfielders in Denver Mukamba, Tawanda Muparati, Cliff Sekete and recently deployed Thomas Magorimbo. Mukamba is the top goalscorer in the Mbada Diamonds Cup with four goals.
And in Simba Sithole, scorer of seven goals including one in the Mbada Cup in his short stint at Dynamos, Zuze’s men will have to find ways to reduce his impact.