BY HENRY MHARA
DEMBARE are plotting to break a long standing jinx as they face Ngezi Platinum Stars at Baobab Stadium in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match tomorrow.
Ngezi coach Benjani Mwaruwari sat on the bench for the first time last week, presiding on a 1-1 draw against Bulawayo Chiefs and will be making a maiden appearance in the home dugout of the ambitious side.
Dynamos seek to win at Ngezi, something they have not managed in six years and their coach Tonderai Ndiraya is one of the reasons for their failure as he often plotted DeMbare’s frustration while he was coach of the Mhondo-Ngezi-based side.
After winning their last five matches, the Harare giants reduced the gap on log leaders Chicken Inn to within one point, and their fans are starting to believe this could finally be their season.
They have managed to move out of the mid-table zone of irrelevance straight into the title matrix and winning here could provide the spark to end years of misery.
But Ndiraya, who knows every blade of grass at the Baobab as well as the culture and ethos of their opponents, admits that tomorrow provides a stern test.
“This is going to be a big test for us,” Ndiraya said at the club’s weekly Press conference yesterday.
“We are looking to break that jinx on Saturday if we put up a solid performance. So a solid performance is what we are looking for and hope to finally come out with a very good result.”
In their four travels to Ngezi since 2016, Dynamos managed two draws and two losses. In total, Ndiraya’s men have won twice, drawn three times and also lost thrice in the eight league encounters against Ngezi Platinum Stars.
More worryingly for Ndiraya is that his charges recorded mixed results on their away games this season.
In their three matches outside the capital, they lost to Triangle, drew with FC Platinum and won against Bulawayo Chiefs.
“We haven’t been consistent and I hope the win in Bulawayo will give us confidence. The five games that we won on the trot should also give us confidence going into this fixture. It’s a difficult one in the sense that they have a new coach whom I respect. We all know what happens when a new coach is appointed, the players tend to have more energy, fighting for positions so that is going to make our life more difficult. But we are prepared for all those things.”
The 2-0 victory over Bulawayo City in February was the last time Dynamos played outside Harare. The four games that followed were played at the National Sports Stadium, and they took advantage of the home support to collect maximum points.
Ndiraya also revealed that midfielder Ralph Kawondera, who missed last weekend’s match, was back at training and will make the trip to Ngezi.
Defender Sylvester Appiah, who also missed the weekend’s victory over Rhinos with a groin problem has started training, although the trip to Baobab has come too early for him.
Ndiraya announced that King Nadolo has been cleared to play for Dynamos after rejoining the club last month and is in the final squad for the match.
This match will see Frank Makarati and Keith Murera returning to Baobab for the first time since leaving the club.
Makarati, who was the skipper for Ngezi, joined the club last year, but the season was washed away by the COVID-19 pandemic. Murera, who was also a key figure in the Ngezi set-up was snatched by Ndiraya this year.
Godknows Murwira will also be returning to familiar territory, having also played for Ngezi before.
For Ngezi, they have in their ranks, players that have featured for Dynamos before.
Talisman Denver Mukamba made his name at Dynamos while Valentine Kadonzvo, Marvellous Mukumba and Qadr Amini have also played for the Glamour Boys.
- Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara