BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
WITH Dynamos’s chances of winning the league title this term looking somewhat remote, the Chibuku Super Cup which they kick off with a clash against old rivals Highlanders at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday presents an opportunity for the Glamour Boys to finish the season with some silverware.
The Chibuku Super Cup, the biggest knockout tournament in the country, whose winners earn a ticket to represent the country in the Caf Confederation Cup tournament, comes at a time the two clubs have contrasting fortunes.
After a dismal start to the campaign, the coming in of coach Tonderai Ndiraya at Dynamos has seen a major transformation from a laughing stock to a championship challenger.
But sitting on sixth position with 34 points, eight behind log leaders Caps United, Dynamos are aware it would be difficult to sustain a title challenge this campaign and see the Chibuku Super Cup as a chance to bring smiles to a multitude of their success-starved fans.
The Glamour Boys have not won the Chibuku Super Cup since its return five years ago.
They came close to winning it in 2015 when they reached the final, but were beaten to the trophy by Harare City after a 2-1 defeat at the National Sports Stadium.
Those memories are still fresh in the minds of their supporters and they will be hoping they overcome the first hurdle posed by bitter foes Highlanders in this one-legged match.
However, with the Bulawayo giants Highlanders struggling to make an impact in this campaign, where they sit on 13th position with a paltry 25 points and are just one point above relegation, there can’t be a perfect time to face them.
Highlanders have appointed new coach Dutchman Hendrik Peter de Jongh, but he will not be available for this encounter as he is still processing his documents to enable him to start work.
That means Mandla Mpofu, who has been calling the shots since the departure of Madinda Ndlovu, who left for Botswana, will preside over the weekend clash.
Mpofu will revert to his assistant role when the Dutchman begins work.
Dynamos, though, have limited options upfront following the injury of striker Evans Katema during a training session with the national team.
The dreadlocked striker dislocated his elbow last Thursday during a training session with the senior national team which was preparing for an African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifying match against Lesotho.
Katema eventually missed the Chan final qualifier, although the Warriors ran out 3-1 winners.
He watched the match from the stands, and was sporting a plaster cast on his left hand.
The forward has been influential for Dynamos since his switch from Mushowani Stars and scored his 10th goal of the season last week in the team’s 1-1 draw away to ZPC Kariba, and is second in the race for the golden boot award.
He is four goals behind former Chicken Inn striker Clive Augusto, who has since moved to South Africa, where he is playing for Maritzburg United.
With strike partner Simba Nhivi also out injured, it’s a major concern for Ndiraya.
The club’s captain Edward Sadomba, however, is expected to play a part having been training with the team for the past three weeks.
One of the big clashes of the quarter finals will see Lloyd Chitembwe’s Harare City collide with his former club hardly two weeks after their league match which the Green Machine prevailed 1-0 over the City Fathers.
Chibuku Super Cup weekend fixtures
Saturday: Ngezi Platinum Stars v Mushowani Stars (Baobab), Black Rhinos v Tel One (NSS 1pm), Caps United v Harare City (NSS), ZPC Kariba v Hwange (Nyamhunga)
Sunday: Dynamos v Highlanders (NSS), Chicken Inn v Manica Diamonds (Luveve), FC Platinum v Chapungu (postponed), Triangle v Herentals (postponed).
All matches kick off at 3pm unless stated.