DYNAMOS coach Kalisto Pasuwa, after a premature exit from the African Champions League, has to battle to restore the pride of the Glamour Boys when he faces Highlanders in the Bob90 Super Cup final at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
BY JOHN MOKWETSI
The meetings between the two football giants have always been feisty and with Pasuwa seeking redemption following another disappointing 2014 African Champions League campaign, the stakes will certainly be high.
Dynamos were knocked out by AS Vita, who won 1-0 on goal aggregate after forcing a nil-all draw at the National Sports Stadium a fortnight ago. It is a match that ended as tragically as the previous three seasons.
Last October at Zimphos training ground, with the league title seemingly sliding away from Pasuwa’s shaky grasp, presented a different side to his affable character.
Dynamos had lost 4-2 to Hwange and drawn against Monomotapa in critical matches that had affected negatively the log standings.
Pasuwa blamed his players for cheating him and singled out Clive Kawinga for feigning fitness to the detriment of his team. He might not be amused by his strikers ahead of the Bob90 final at the Rufaro this Sunday.
With expectations weighing heavier than the boardroom squabbles at the club, Pasuwa and his players will look to win this match at all costs.
This is a fight for Pasuwa’s legitimacy, a fight for the soul of the supporters and, most of all, a fight against pessimism that now engulfs the top management.
There are mooted whispers on the need to replace Pasuwa and give David Mandigora the top job of coaching the Glamour Boys, now champions for the third time in three years.
Supporters, using social media, have questioned the gaffer’s football tactics. There have been questions about the form of his main strikers Simba Sithole and Washington Pakamisa. There have been dedicated eyeballs on the inability of his team to interplay.
It is a problem Pasuwa complained about last October at Zimphos.
“We have become a team afraid of making mistakes. Here you have three people pressing you down and you try to turn and end up losing possession. Don’t try to do complicated things with the ball. Do the simple things, get the ball and pass it to the next teammate.”
And true to his understanding of Dynamos supporters both as a coach and player, he sighed almost theatrically while pacing from one end of the stadium to the other: “Dynamos fans.” He paused. “You see, Dynamos fans do not consider anything else other than your commitment to the team’s cause. As long as you step into that stadium they view you as seasoned.”
And perhaps this applies to Kelvin Kaindu too whose flirtation with near-success stories is starting to worry many who converge at Barbourfields to cheer the black and white.
For two successive seasons, he has uttered his signature tune: “It shall be well,” to the amusement of some and the ire of others.
Bosso are looking formidable with new signings that can win any match in Zimbabwe. With Kuda Mahachi and Joel Ngodzo on their books, there is nothing stopping the hard-to-please fans to believe that Dynamos’ days in the sun are over.
And having already beaten Harare City 2-1 to advance to the final, a team that beat them 4-0 at Rufaro in a match that overturned their league fortunes, everyone feels rolling past Dynamos is inevitable. Dynamos have been walloping Bosso since 2006. Last year the two nemeses met in the Bob89 final at the same venue they meet on Sunday and the Glamour Boys scored four without reply to lift the trophy.
In the end there are sub-battles to the Battle of Zimbabwe. Depending on your priorities as a football fan, it is Mambare vs Bosso fans, Mahachi vs Dynamos fans, Kaindu vs Pasuwa, Mandigora vs Pasuwa or Dynamos vs Highlanders.
Whichever way, it is a match too pregnant with emotion to be missed.
Meanwhile, tournament spokesperson Charles Mabika yesterday said all was in place for the match which was initially pencilled for February 23.
“Everything is now set for the match. We should announce the prize money for the finals tomorrow. The two teams have confirmed participation for the match and they have promised to field their strongest squads. We have a number of dignitaries that have shown interest in gracing the occasion, but they haven’t confirmed yet. We should have the confirmed list by the end of the week,” Mabika said.
President Robert Mugabe hosted the two teams Dynamos and Highlanders at State House last year. It was not clear yesterday if he would attend the match yesterday.
“The chairman of the organising committee (Stan Kasukuwere) is handling that issue, but still we cannot confirm if he (Mugabe) is coming or not for security reasons,” said Mabika.