JUST two points from a possible 15, three goals scored in five matches against six conceded, second from the bottom on the league table, and top striker Christian Ntouba quitting the club last week, Dynamos are a team in a crisis.
BY HENRY MHARA
It is, of course, premature to write them off from the title race just yet, but with the Harare giants already trailing log leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars by 13 points, it would need a desirable combination of a very good run of wins, and a bad spell for the early pacesetters.
By their coach Lloyd Mutasa’s admission this week, things are not well in their camp.
The squad is low on confidence, and have failed to produce the same form that they exhibited in winning the pre-season ZNA Charities Trophy at the expense of bitter rivals Caps United and Highlanders.
Ntouba, top goal scorer for the team last season, has effectively left the club without kicking the ball this season after a protracted dispute over unpaid signing-on fees and allowances from last season.
The embarrassing episode has left the club and its principal sponsor NetOne with egg on their faces.
As if that is not bad enough, another off the field fight between club chairman Keni Mubaiwa and a militant section of the club’s supporters, provides another sideshow that has left the club in shambles.
Failure to collect maximum points again this weekend when they welcome Yadah FC at Rufaro Stadium tomorrow, and the implications would be unthinkable.
This is one match that Mutasa should simply tell his boys to produce a strong show, and halt the existing decay.
“We prepared well and are itching for the first set of maximum points. We know its going to be tough, but its high time we should start collecting those points. We have done what is supposed to be done, and things should change,” Mutasa told NewsDay Sport.
“These youngsters are winners, and would want to win matches and after everything that has been happening, it has pushed them even more to go an extra mile to be where they should be. That gives me a positive mind that we should be able to get the desired result this weekend.”
The club’s supporters are not happy with the way their season is panning out, in particular the way Mubaiwa and his executive handled Ntouba’s situation, leading to the Cameroonian terminating his contract on Thursday last week
Mutasa also feels that the dispute could have been handled better.
“At times, things don’t work the way you want them as a person, but I would feel that probably this scenario was there from the onset, and it was going to be of a great benefit had we really known what we now know,” he said.
“For planning purposes, we could have planned knowing that we won’t have the boy at our disposal. You look at his contribution last year, he was our top goalscorer, so I thought it was going to be clear for everybody to see how important Christian was to the team in terms of the striking force.
“His situation really affected us, especially looking at how we are losing matches, by a single margin. In those matches, he could have made a huge difference, even without scoring. He was part of the reason why we finished second last year. But I wouldn’t want to play a blame game as a coach, I just want to wish him (Ntouba) well as he pushes his career forward.”
This week, the fans have been rallying each other on social media to boycott tomorrow’s match, to push Mubaiwa and his executive out, for failing to retain Ntouba, their best player from last season.
However, Mutasa is totally against the idea.
Instead, he is calling for unity from all the team’s stakeholders, as they look to turn around their warning fortunes.
“As the coach I wouldn’t want the supporters to boycott because they are part of us. Boycotting the match is not the right way to go. We are in this mess together and we have to come out of it together. They have to rally behind the team,” the Dynamos mentor said.
“We have seen such kind of things happening elsewhere, teams going through a bad patch, but their fans always back them for better results. If they are Dynamos fans, they should be seen to be there, where the team is playing. I hope they would be there to support the cause.”
Today: Mutare City v Bulawayo Chiefs (Vengere), FC Platinum v Harare City (Mandava), Herentals v Bulawayo City (Rufaro), Nichrut v ZPC Kariba (Ascot)
Tomorrow: Triangle United v CAPS United (Gibbo), Shabanie Mine v Ngezi Platinum (Maglas), Chicken Inn v Highlanders (Barbourfields), Dynamos v Yadah (Rufaro)