IN an opening weekend where most title contenders faltered, it was defending champions Dynamos who emerged the biggest winners with an opportune win against How Mine in Bulawayo to give the Harare giants a perfect start as they seek a record fourth straight league title.
BY SPORTS REPORTER
Last year’s runners up Highlanders could only manage a goalless draw away to returnees Chapungu, third placed Harare City were thumped 3-0 by Chicken Inn while fourth placed FC Platinum scored late to rescue a point at newcomers Chiredzi FC.
Another giant Caps United needed a Dominic Chungwa equaliser to earn a point at home to newcomers ZPC Kariba, but it was Hwange who fired warning shots with an emphatic 5-1 win over Luke Masomere’s Buffaloes, with returning Rodwell Chinyengetere starring.
It was a fine opening weekend outing for the promoted sides who, save for Bantu Rovers, managed to collect a point against the title contenders.
Rovers were beaten 1-0 by Black Rhinos at Luveve on Saturday.
However, the biggest talking point of the opening weekend should be that of Dynamos’ victory at Barbourfields.
The Kalisto Pasuwa-coached side are traditionally slow starters having collected maximum points just once in the opening weekend in the last three seasons that they have gone to win the title.
Statistics will also show that while they are very hard to beat in the capital, they are poor travellers, having recorded just 10 points from a possible 30 from their trips outside Harare last season.
A match against their bogey side away in Bulawayo thus provided an early test for Dynamos’ resolve in a season where they will play 12 times away from Harare this season as they are the only three teams in capital.
This is the second time in four seasons, a period that they have gone to win the title, that Dynamos have managed maximum points in the opening weekend.
In 2011, Dynamos were stunned 1-0 by Kiglon at Rufaro Stadium in Round One with William Manondo providing the sucker punch in the second half. The champions went on to win the title on goal difference after ending the season tied on 58 points with FC Platinum. Kiglon were relegated that season.
The following season, Dynamos got their season to a flier, thrashing Hardbody 3-0, Takesure Chinyama grabbing a memorable hat-trick on his debut for the club.
Dynamos went on to win the league on goal difference again after finishing the season tied on points with Highlanders. Hardbody went on to be relegated.
A Tawanda Muparati strike earned them a draw at Black Mambas in their opening match last season. Dynamos went on to win the title, again on goal difference and, as fate would have it again, Mambas kissed good bye to top flight football — a trend that should seriously worry How Mine.
The four losses they recorded throughout the whole season last year were suffered away from Harare when they lost to Buffaloes, How Mine, Hwange and FC Platinum.
They could only manage four points from their trips to Chicken Inn, Triangle, Shabanie Mine and Black Rhinos last season. Dynamos only managed two wins from all their league matches away from the capital — against Highlanders and Tripple B.
Having gotten maximum points at How Mine, Dynamos will need similar fortunes when they travel to Highlanders, Chicken Inn, Bantu Rovers, Triangle, Chiredzi FC, Chapungu, Black Rhinos, Hwange, Shabanie Mine, FC Platinum and Buffaloes, if they are to successfully defend their title.