PREMIER Soccer League soccer champions Dynamos leave for Lesotho tomorrow for the Caf Champions League preliminary round, second leg tie against Correctional Services (LCS) buoyed by impressive striker Francisco Zekumbawira’s debut over the weekend.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA
Until Sunday afternoon, Dynamos supporters were still somewhat in the dark about why their club splashed $15 000 for a season’s loan for the 23-year-old striker.
Zekumbawira, formerly of Southern Region Division Two side Zim Leopards and Hwange, finally signed from the coal miners after weeks of protracted negotiations.
He featured in his Dynamos debut against Highlanders in the second leg of the Bob89 Super Cup final at Rufaro Stadium.
Zekumbawira played a crucial part in Dynamos’ first goal that was converted by striking partner Patrick Khumbula.
With his back to the goal, Zekumbawira momentarily lost his balance, but still managed to recover well and then used his big frame to protect the ball before unleashing a powerful shot that goalkeeper Aerial Sibanda punched into the path of the onrushing Khumbula.
“I’m proud to play for a big club like Dynamos and I’m very lucky to get a gold medal in my first game here. There was a bit of pressure from the media and the crowd obviously because of the way my transfer was handled, but I just wanted to be a Dynamos player.
“My first game was fine. I feel I played well, but I still have room to improve. I will just keep on working hard and do my best to help the club win more trophies,” said Zekumbawira after the Sunday’s 4-0 drubbing of Highlanders.
Zekumbawira was clearly not match fit and fizzled out later in the match, but there were several moments throughout the course of his 55-minute cameo role that highlighted his immense strengths and dangerous aura.
He was nearly always available for the pass, drifting from side to side upfront and even as far back as the centre line to receive the ball. Continuously, he used his huge frame to bully his markers — Innocent Mapuranga and Atlast Musasa with ease. The ginger-hair striker missed Dynamos’ 3-0 Champions League first leg win over Lesotho Correctional Service a fortnight ago as the Harare giants and Hwange were still haggling over the loan transfer fee.
Zekumbawira’s presence will obviously give Dynamos coach Kalisto Pasuwa some options upfront as he looks to finish off the Basotho side in Maseru on Sunday.
Pasuwa used a natural attacking midfielder Boban Ziruntusa and winger Russel Madamombe as twin strikers against LCS, but the availability of Zekumbawira and a-fit-again Farai Mupasiri should give him the attacking impetus that lacked in that first leg match.
It’s very unfortunate for Pasuwa that Khumbula will not be available for Dynamos in the Champions League until the next stage as his combination with Zekumbawira showed promise.
Dynamos, who are almost assured of progressing to the next round following their comfortable win at home, are expected to leave for Maseru on Thursday morning.
Save for Zekumbawira, there are not likely to be many changes in Dynamos’ final travelling 18 as Tichaona Mabvura could be sacrificed unless Pasuwa decides not to drop any player from the first leg.