MONOMOTAPA has raised the stakes ahead of their high-profile encounter against Dynamos tomorrow at Rufaro Stadium, warning the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) defending champions not to underrate them.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA SPORTS REPORTER
“Monoz”, the 2008 champions, are coming from a 1-0 shock defeat at the hands of Gunners while Dynamos thumped Black Mambas 3-0. Second-placed Highlanders are away to Hardbody at Ascot Stadium, where they have never lost since 2000, and it’s a must win match for them. Monoz have warned Dynamos not to read much into their loss to Gunners.
“For four years now, we have failed to beat Gunners and in a year they may exit PSL they have beaten us — again. We still are the team to beat. A loss to our bogey side doesn’t make us a bad side.
“Underrate us at your own peril. We dust ourselves and look forward to the big job on Sunday,” Monomotapa yesterday posted on their official Facebook page.
The Monoz technical bench, which is full of former Dynamos players, also said they had no injury worries in their camp.
Coach Biggie Zuze, assistant coach Nkululeko Dlamini and team manager Clayton Munemo all made their names playing for DeMbare.
Dlamini this week said that would count for nothing when the two teams clash tomorrow.
Unfortunately for Munemo, he won’t be on the bench tomorrow after he was slapped with a 10-year ban from all football activities yesterday after allegations of match-fixing during Monomotapa’s trip to Malaysia in 2009.
Captain Kuda Musharu, Makai Kawashu, Obey Mwerahari, Tawanda Nyamandwe and Brian Mapfumo were all benched for the Gunners’ loss and are expected to return tomorrow to complement Ronald Chitiyo, Russel Madamombe, Osbourne Mukuradare and Hillary Mugoniwa.
On the other hand, Dynamos know a win will inch them closer to a successful defence of their title regardless of what happens at Ascot because this is their toughest hurdle this season. They lost the reverse leg 1-0.
Denver Mukamba has been Dynamos’ talisman this season and will again be expected to carry the team’s hopes in this match.
Mukamba was briefly withdrawn from Dynamos’ training session on Thursday morning by DC Academy, who own the player, over outstanding transfer fees, but the Harare giants quickly settled the debt.
Milton Makopa has fully recovered from a sheen injury and coach Kalisto Pasuwa said he was likely to give the anchorman a run tomorrow.
Timire Mamvura impressed against Black Mambas in that holding position and is expected to start.
More pleasing for Dynamos is the performance of Simba Sithole.
The former Young Warriors captain scored his second goal in the league on Wednesday in as many games and is beginning to resemble the deadly striker he was while playing for Caps United last season.
Events at Rufaro Stadium will certainly attract keen interest from Highlanders, who regard this match as their main hope to overhaul the log leaders.
But before they can do that, they have Hardbody to beat at Ascot Stadium.
Meanwhile, Gunners will be looking to continue with their fight against relegation with a visit to Rufaro against hosts Harare City this afternoon.
The Moses Chunga-coached side beat Monoz to move to within three points of safety and will be hoping that Mambas lose again this weekend when they travel to Buffaloes.