Battle Royale : Dynamos vs Highlanders

IN the last four seasons, Dynamos have won 11 trophies including three straight league and two Mbada Diamonds Cup titles.

HENRY MHARA

Highlanders have won just two in that time — the Uhuru Cup and Mbada Diamonds Cup.

The Harare football giants have come out triumphant four times in their last eight meetings in the league, including a last-gasp 1-0 win in their most recent meeting at Barbourfields late last year.

The other four clashes ended in draws as Dynamos stretched their unbeaten record against Highlanders to eight years.

And yet, the Bulawayo giants will not be short of confidence when the next chapter of the Battle Royale is written at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.

Highlanders are unbeaten in 11 matches this season, with ZPC Kariba the only other team without a defeat in the current league campaign. Bosso have scored a remarkable 20 goals in that period, an average of 1,8 goals a match. Their defence too is looking pretty solid with just seven goals having gone past goalkeepers Ariel Sibanda and Munyaradzi Diya.

But all this will not worry Dynamos in the least. Much has been made of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions’ poor start to the season with four defeats already recorded and just 10 goals this far, but two points is all that separates them from Highlanders, and just a solitary point from log leaders Hwange.
Dynamos’ recent success has been built on a solid defence and it’s no different this season.

After 11 rounds of matches, they have let in a paltry six goals, one worse than ZPC Kariba, who hold the best defensive record so far in the campaign.

Though history might suggest Dynamos are favourites going into the match, Highlanders captain Innocent Mapuranga this week told NewsDay Sport that they could not continue living in the past. Highlanders great Dazzy Kapenya has also said the time to break the Dynamos hoodoo is now and has predicted a win for his former team.

Yet, it appears Dynamos have perfected the art of beating Highlanders, and Dynamos assistant coach Tichaona Diya reckons that their “perfect record” against tomorrow’s opponents should enable them to play without fear.

“It will not be easy against Highlanders. They are unbeaten, but we are not worrying ourselves much about those stats. The boys just don’t want to lose against Highlanders,” said Diya.

Both coaches Kalisto Pasuwa and Kevin Kaindu have been keen on playing down the notion of pressure heading into the fixture.

Kaindu has maintained that line since he joined the club two seasons ago, insisting that he is building a team for the future.

But the weight of expectations from the supporters is cranking and deep down he knows this is the year he should deliver.

Kaindu has also lived in Pasuwa’s shadow for a long time now and there is no doubt the Zambian is desperate for a win, although he has only lost once in four league outings.

Ahead of the titanic clash, Kaindu’s squad had their confidence boosted by the quick recovery of the injured Kuda Mahachi and Rahman Kutsanzira, who have been confirmed fit for the clash, while Peter “Rio” Moyo also travelled to Harare with the team, but will have to pass a late fitness test.

Pasuwa has a tough decision to make regarding his tactical set-up for this match with Devon Chafa and Tawanda Muparati now available after training with the rest of the squad this week.

But it is the striking department that continues to be the biggest talking point for them this season.

Their strikers, seven in total, have contributed just two goals this term, but Pasuwa should be happy that Anesu Gondo, the scorer of the two goals, is fully fit again. Masimba Mambare is still out injured.

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2 Comments

  1. nice one..

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