AS Dynamos step up their pre-season preparations with a friendly match against rivals Caps United this weekend, questions have risen about the potency of their strike force and their ability to retain the league title they won last season.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The champions have a new coach in David Mandigora, assisted by Tonderai Ndiraya and goalkeeper’s coach Gift Muzadzi after the record-breaking Kalisto Pasuwa decided not to renew his contract having lifted a fourth successive league title.
Mandigora, who guided Dynamos to the semi-finals of the 2008 African Champions League, will be under the spotlight as he will be trying to emulate his predecessor.
He has assembled a squad that looks balanced on paper with a mixture of youth and experience.
But it is the strike force which appears lightweight and could be Mandigora’s biggest undoing.
This department has proven the team’s weakest in recent years, but the team managed to get away with it somehow.
The team’s leading goalscorers Rodrick Mutuma and Washington Pakamisa, with six goals each, left the club at the start of the year.
Interestingly, Mutuma joined in the middle of the season after a stint in South Africa with Bloemfontein Celtic, which provides a graphic illustration of the bluntness of DeMbare strikeforce.
In came Kasimero Chimbadzwa, Kelvin Bulaji and Dominic Chungwa.
And while the trio has shown some potential, they are yet to prove that they can deliver at a top level, especially playing for
a pressure cooker team like Dynamos.
Former ZRP FC striker Chimbadzwa finished as the top goalscorer in the World Navi Division One championship last season, but that is all we know about him.
Before last season, he had stints with various league teams, but with very little to show for it in terms of scoring goals.
Yes, his potential is unquestionable and could be brimming with confidence coming from a fruitful season with his former club, but the demands at Dynamos will obviously be high and the lanky striker will need a nerve of steel to succeed.
Then there is Simba Sithole who recently renewed his contract with the team.
It appears lack of goals have inflicted psychological wounds in this once feared striker, and it looks like he will take quite some time to heal.
Sithole arrived at Dynamos last term hoping to resurrect a career that was on the ropes after unhappy spells at Supersport United and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa but proved a huge flop, managing just one goal.
Another striker Anesu Gondo finished the campaign with only three goals, but it was injuries that blighted his season. He is yet to fully recover from the knock he picked early last year.
Even their recent signings, Kelvin Bulaji and Dominic Chungwa from Caps United, struggled to get the much-needed goals with Chungwa ending the season with just six, while Bulaji managed a paltry three.
The little said about Patrick Khumbula, the better. He has been around at Dynamos for some time, but has only one goal to show in the last season.
The Dynamos strike force will, thus, be under the spotlight when they face their number one enemy Caps United in the inaugural 2015 Sino-Zimbabwe Cement friendly match scheduled for Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
The match has been organised to celebrate the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relationship between Zimbabwean and Chinese communities.
Caps United also under new English coach Mark Harrison will have an opportunity to assess a number of new players who joined them ahead of the start of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season with Mutuma being one of their biggest acquisitions so far.