BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
Now we know why he’s called Neymar
Week 2 of the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season delivered some lessons and possibly pointers to what may lie ahead this term.
Dynamos might have lost 1-2 at home against Hwange at Rufaro on Sunday, but the overall display was impressive.
Their new Cameroonian signings Vincent Mbega and Ngahan Claude Junior (pictured), nicknamed Neymar, made their debuts for the Glamour Boys and immediately endeared themselves with the fans after a brilliant performance.
Prior to this match, fans wanted to discover why Ngahan is called Neymar in his native home in Cameroon, and after his debut, it’s understandable that they decided to name him after the Brazilian superstar.
His deft touches, dribbling, timing and passing speaks the language of football made easy. He is, indeed, a prototype of Brazilian and Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar Junior.
One of his best moments was when he rode over a couple of tackles, burst into the danger zone, locked one defender before cutting the ball back — and although no justice was done to that individual effort, he had already done enough to convince the Dynamos faithful that, indeed, they had a new star.
With the DeMbare faithful having worshipped Christian Ntouba Epoupa, Ngahan is yet another Cameroonian star likely to be their heartthrob.
And the standing ovation when he was hauled off told the whole story.
Manica Diamonds, Hwange are no pushovers
Manica Diamonds also demonstrated they are no pushovers in this campaign even though they are a new side following a deserved 3-1 victory over Harare City.
The Mutare-based side is one of the most experienced teams in the topflight, if one is to consider the individual players that they have, but for them to come in and upstage a team like Harare City, who have been dubbed as one of the title dark horses, it was some achievement.
Hwange also proved they are not in the race to simply make up the numbers with a 2-1 victory over Harare giants Dynamos after having beaten Yadah FC by the same scoreline in the opening match.
It will be a tough year for trio
For teams like Herentals, Bulawayo Chiefs and Yadah, the 2019 season, it seems, could be one long hard year for them on current evidence.
With Herentals suffering a 1-0 defeat to ZPC Kariba, having managed a point in the 0-0 draw against Premiership newboys TelOne, it looks gloomy for the school boys.
Bulawayo Chiefs were also on the receiving end after a 1-0 defeat to TelOne, their second defeat of the campaign, having been clobbered 5-0 by Chapungu in the season opener.
Yadah are also looking hopeless after suffering their second successive defeat of the campaign against Chicken Inn on Saturday, having been beaten by Hwange by the same scoreline in a season opener.
From pretenders to contenders
Harare giants, Caps United and Bulawayo giants, Highlanders, this weekend demonstrated they have transformed from pretenders to contenders after playing out a goalless draw in an enthralling encounter.
The only blemish was, however, the questionable refereeing, which saw the visitors’ two penalty appeals being waved off by referee Thabani Bamala, while the other goal was ruled for offside in the dying moments of the match.