AFTER squandering an opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the Premier Soccer League table following a goalless draw against Monomotapa, defending champions Dynamos will be seeking redemption in the Mbada Diamonds Cup in which they clash against How Mine at Rufaro Stadium this weekend.
Dynamos’ title defence suffered major reversals in the past week in which they managed to collect just a point from a possible six following a 4-2 drubbing by Hwange at the Colliery before the draw against Monomotapa.
That stumble, however, has left Kalisto Pasuwa’s men still on top of the league table with 42 points, but with just a single point separating them from closest challengers Highlanders and Harare City.
Highlanders were the major beneficiary of the stumble by DeMbare as they saw off FC Platinum 2-1 before drawing 1-1 against army side Buffaloes on Sunday.
But, Pasuwa is still confident of defending the league title. “It’s still game on. We need to score a lot of goals to consolidate our lead. After the draw against Monomotapa we are now going back to the drawing board,” Pasuwa said.
Dynamos will, however, have to put behind them their unconvincing display in their past two league matches as they face How Mine hoping to advance to the last four of the Mbada Diamonds Cup.
Assistant coach Richard Chihoro expressed confidence the champions would bounce back and progress to the semi-finals of the richest knockout tournament in the country.
“We are motivated to defend this cup and we should beat How Mine. We suffered a defeat to Hwange and drew against Monomotapa on Sunday. It shows there is improvement. We are in the right direction and I don’t see us failing to beat How Mine. We need this cup more than any other team,” Chihoro said.
How Mine also go into the match low on confidence after suffering a 3-0 defeat to Black Rhinos leaving them on eighth position on the league table with 32 points. And coach Philani Ncube admitted it was a setback.
“Of course the defeat to Black Rhinos was a setback, but this is a different ball game altogether. It’s a cup game and anything can happen. We have respect for Dynamos as the defending champions, but we are going to Rufaro to compete,” Ncube said.
Dynamos will keep this trophy for good if they win it for the third successive season.
Harare City who also dropped two crucial points following their 1-1 draw against Chicken Inn have a tough trip to Beitbridge for a date with Hwange.
However, City coach Bigboy Mawiwi says he was impressed by his charges in the drawn game against Chicken Inn and is looking forward to an improved performance when they face Hwange.
“Against Chicken Inn the guys played very well. We led in the first half through Nathan Ziwini who scored after 20 minutes, but we conceded six minutes from the end because of lack of concentration. “There is a little bit of pressure in the league because we are fighting for the championship with big boys.
“Hwange are fighting to survive relegation so there is always some pressure, but now this is a cup game and no team will be under pressure and I expect a good performance. I know Hwange are playing well and beat Dynamos recently and we will approach them accordingly,” Mawiwi said.
Hwange have collected four points in their last two matches against Dynamos and Triangle as they fight to stay afloat and coach Nation Dube will be hoping to upset the Sunshine City Boys in the Mbada Diamonds Cup.
Highlanders will play Buffaloes at Mucheke in Masvingo while CAPS United who have lost coach Taurai Mangwiro following his resignation in the aftermath of the team’s 3-1 defeat to Shabanie Mine on Sunday appear to have the toughest of them all — a date with Chicken Inn at Ascot Stadium.