DYNAMOS . . . . . . . . 0
HIGHLANDERS . . . . (1) 2
DYNAMOS’ lack of depth was brutally exposed when the Harare football giants were outclassed by a Highlanders developmental side in a Heroes Day celebration match at Rufaro Stadium yesterday.
BY HENRY MHARA
Thabo Lunga’s flashing header past goalkeeper, Ashley Reyners gave Highlanders juniors, known as the Bosso 90, the opener after eight minutes before substitute, Thembalethu Mthunzi doubled the advantage late in the second half with a cool finish after a defensive mistake by the Dynamos backline.
Highlanders used a developmental side, as their first team are playing in the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Trophy final against an army select side today.
Dynamos, ravaged by injuries, used most of the players that struggle to get into the first team, as coach Lloyd Mutasa looked for other options, but should have been left disappointed with what he saw.
With six regular players, including top striker Christian Ntouba, Cleopas Kapupurika, Marshall Machazane, Carlos Rusere, Obey Mwerahari and Lincoln Zvasiya struggling with injuries and illnesses and set to miss the team’s next league match away to How Mine at the weekend, Mutasa used yesterday’s match to assess their replacements, but the fringe players’ performance left him worried.
Masimba Mambare and Valentine Ndaba, who were supposed to be the team’s leaders yesterday, were the most disappointing and were both pulled out at half-time.
New boys, Godfrey Mukambi, Thembinkosi Simango and Jimmy Kanono did very little to suggest that they can play for the Glamour Boys.
It was left-back Mukambi who showed some flashes here and there and got the approval of some Dynamos fans, who showed their gratitude by throwing some money at him after the match.
Mutasa said he was disappointed, particularly by the performance of Mambare and Rusere, and singled out young, Tatenda Muringani, as the only one who played above average in the match.
“Every game we play, we play to win, but, unfortunately, Highlanders were too good for us. We lost the plot, but it was a good match for us going forward,” he said. “It was an opportunity (for some of the players, who normally don’t get game time) and some of the youngsters showed what they have and we will be looking to see them as we go forward.
“I think Tatenda Muringani was outstanding. We never gave him a chance, but today, he played well, better than some of the guys, who have been playing regularly. Masimba Mambare and Vale (Ndaba), we never saw much of them. They were not in it and will need to pull up their socks going forward.”
Highlanders developmental coach, Melusi Sibanda, who was in charge of the team, while senior team coach Eroy Akbay watched from the VIP enclosure with his side, was left impressed by the five-star performance of his side.
The Bosso 90 team play in the Southern Region Division One League and Sibanda infused it with three fringe players from the senior team in the impressive Adrian Silla, Nkosana Ndlovu and Denzel Khumalo.
“The youngsters played well, very well. This is the future of Highlanders. I’m happy with the performance considering that we are coming all the way from Victoria Falls where we played a game on Saturday,” Sibanda said.
“My boys were afraid initially that we were playing Dynamos, but I said to them let’s go for it. I told them we would win the game and we won. We could have scored four or five goals, but it’s just that the boys are still young and couldn’t finish off some of the chances we created. Next year, they will be a very good team.”
Dynamos started brightly against a nervy-looking Highlanders, but once the Bulawayo side settled, they gave the Harare side problems, with holding midfielder Silla arguably the best player on the field.
He released Yvess Ebabali on the right, who crossed for Lunga to head in the opener before dominating the rest of the first half with some neat build-ups.
Lunga could have doubled the side’s advantage early in the second half when he beat the offside trap and rounded off Reyners, but he then somehow failed to put the ball under control and it rolled out.
Substitute Mthunzi made it 2-nil when he intercepted an intended shot from midfield, before finishing calmly past the Dynamos goalie.
Dynamos: A Reyners, G Mukambi, R Matova, J Konono, G Saunyama, T Murungani, K Dhemera, V Ndaba (V Kadonzvo, 46’), M Mambare (Q Kangadze, 46’), T Simango, T Sadiki (M Madhiri, 63’)
Highlanders: N Madeya, N Ndlovu, M Ndlovu, V Moyo, C Gawaza, A Silla, E Ebabali, B Jaravaza, T Lunga (T Mthunzi, 70’), D Khumalo (O Gombani, 87’), T Kalunga (D Mukuli, 87’)