BY HENRY MHARA / FORTUNE MELE
DYNAMOS coach Tonderai Ndiraya has admitted that Black Rhinos are his club’s “bogey team”, adding that his team would face a difficult game when the two meet in the Chibuku Super Cup quarter-final.
Dates for the tournament’s last eight matches are yet to be announced, with one round of group matches still to be played in Group A.
Dynamos have already confirmed their place in the quarters as Group A leaders with an unbeaten run in nine matches of the campaign and will be joined from this pool by either Harare City or ZPC Kariba.
Their reward for an excellent campaign so far is a clash against Black Rhinos in the next stage after the army side finished second in Group C.
Ndiraya, whose side laboured to a 1-1 draw against Caps United in their group match at Baobab Stadium on Sunday, is a worried man.
For all their invincibility in the competition so far, facing Rhinos on the back of a record that has seen Dynamos winning just once against the army team in their last four meetings, is giving Ndiraya sleepless nights.
The other three matches ended in draws.
“Black Rhinos have always been a bogey side for us and they always seem to play exceptionally well against us,” Ndiraya said.
The presence of former Dynamos players in the Rhinos ranks is making the former midfielder even more worried.
Kudzanai Dhemere, Tawanda Chisi, Tawanda Macheke, and goalkeeper Blessing Mwandimutsira, who were all deemed excess baggage at Dynamos are now playing for Rhinos where they are doing well.
“What makes the game against them exciting is that they do have quite a number of our former players. I’m sure they are angling to play against their former team, so it’s going to be a very interesting contest. We are expecting a tough match, it’s a game that they don’t want to lose. It’s a game that we want to win to progress to the next round, so it’s going to be quite interesting.”
The tepid performance of his team in a Harare derby when they played second fiddle for the better part of the game left a sour taste in his mouth.
Caps United were unlucky as they squandered a number of chances and needed an own goal by Emmanuel Jalai to cancel out Bill Antonio’s strike for Dynamos which came against the run of play.
“We have started to plan for that one already. We have seen Black Rhinos playing several times and that is why I said in my previous interviews that we were taking this game (against Caps United) as a preparatory game. That is why I’m saying I’m disappointed with the performance because we were taking it as a quarter-final game and we really needed to win this game. We keep on preparing for the quarter-finals.”
Ndiraya will have another chance to fine-tune his side when they face Harare City in their remaining group tie.
Chibuku Super Cup holders Highlanders have a date with league champions FC Platinum in the quarter-finals of the tournament at Mandava Stadium on a date yet to be advised.
Premier Soccer League spokesperson Kudzai Bare yesterday said she didn’t have dates for the quarter-finals.
Bosso finished second in Group 2 and will travel to meet the winners of Group 4, FC Platinum.
Chicken Inn came out tops in Group 2 and are at Barbourfields Stadium for the quarter-finals against Ngezi Platinum, who are second in Group 4 which also had Triangle and WhaWha.
Highlanders coach Mandla Mpofu yesterday admitted that playing FC Platinum posed a big challenge for his team.
“FC Platinum is a strong side. Even if we were playing at BF against either of the two sides (FC Platinum and Ngezi Platinum), it was going to be tough,” Mpofu said.
Chicken Inn gaffer Joey Antipas said he had a lot of work to do for his squad to come to the party and reckoned there was no home ground if there were no fans.
The GameCocks will take on Ngezi Platinum at Barbourfields Stadium in the quarter-finals.
“My players have to improve individually and as a team. Each player has to rise to the occasion. Now it’s not a league format. It’s a knockout and once you are out, you are out. We hope to rise to the occasion and hope for the best. It will be good that we play at BF. We have played all our games at BF but the way I see it, there is really no home ground without fans,” Antipas said.
Ngezi Platinum coach Rodwell Dhlakama said they were ready to play any team.
“We are yet to get information on the venues and it would only be prudent for me to comment after getting that information but for us
we are the same with all the teams in the league and we were ready to face anyone. Chicken Inn are a good side. It will give us a good run for our money. We will have to beat them,” Dhlakama said.
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