SIMBA Bhora received a major boost ahead of their must win-match against Dynamos after star player Talent Chawapiwa returned to training yesterday.
The former Warriors attacker picked a hamstring injury against his former club FC Platinum in their opening league match a fortnight ago.
He subsequently missed the team's second game of the campaign against Chicken Inn last week.
However, the forward was back at training with the rest of the squad at their training base in Harare yesterday, suggesting he is fit and available for a crucial “home” clash against DeMbare at the National Sports Stadium (NSS) on Saturday.
Chawapiwa's availability is goodnews to coach Tonderai Ndiraya who is hard pressed to turn the club's fortunes after two demoralising defeats in the opening two matches.
The league debutants surrendered a one goal lead to suffer a 2-1 defeat against FC Platinum in their debut topflight match.
Simba were well in control of the match until Chawapiwa, who was keeping FC Platinum roving right back Gift Mbweti busy with his sheer speed, hobbled off the pitch.
Moments after he was substituted, Mbweti who was now roaming freely on the right channel, delivered two identical crosses that were both headed in by Juan Mutudza as the defending champions turned the clash on its head.
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The Shamva-based side also produced a gallant show last weekend against last season's league runners-up Chicken Inn, but inexperience cost them dearly as they again succumbed to a late goal to lose the match 1-0.
This makes their next match a must-win clash for Ndiraya, who is also out to prove a point against his former club Dynamos after their hugely publicised unceremonious divorce at the end of last year.
Simba Bhora is also home to a number of players who were deemed excess baggage by Dynamos during the off-season transfer window.
Defender Patson Jaure, who captained Dynamos last season, midfielder Keith Murera and Prince Edward academy players Luke Musikiri, Claivert Tshuma and Stephen Chatikobo all linked up with Ndiraya and chairman Isiah Mupfurutsa who also left DeMbare last year.
Blessing Moyo, Tichaona Chipunza and Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo are other former Dynamos players in the current Simba Bhora ranks who will be out to impress against their former paymasters.
Ndiraya admitted it has been a baptism of fire for his side which he said was rather “unfortunate” to be paired against the league’s top three sides in their opening three games.
“We have been unfortunate to get three strong teams in our first three games and that is really testing our character,” said Ndiraya.
“Another tough one (against Dynamos), but this is the level that we are now competing at. We just have to put our act together and take the game to Dynamos and try to get a result. We are playing at home, although really it won’t be an advantage. I think in terms of presence, we won’t be travelling so we hope to take the game to Dynamos and get that result. It has been a difficult two weeks for us, but I think it is a test of character. “We need to be very strong and make sure that we get a result against Dynamos.”
Simba Bhora are using NSS as their home ground after they failed to get their Shamva base, Wadzanani Stadium ready in time for the start of the season.
Dynamos, meanwhile, are going into the match with their tails up following their impressive wins in their opening two matches.
They beat league returnees Hwange 1-0 in their opener before mauling promoted Sheasham 4-0 last weekend to shoot top to the top of the log.
Their coach Herbert Maruwa is delighted by his team's bright start, but he knows it is still far too early to party.
He admitted that the Saturday clash will be a grudge match for obvious reasons.
“It’s going to be a tough match because of what happened during the off-season. Most of our guys moved there so we will just need to concentrate on our team,” he said.
Premier League match day 3 fixtures
Tomorrow: Herentals v Manica Diamonds (National Sports Stadium
Saturday: Simba Bhora v Dynamos (NSS), Sheasham v Yadah (Mandava), Bulawayo Chiefs v Black Rhinos (Luveve), Cranborne Bullets v Chicken Inn (Baobab)
Sunday: Caps United v ZPC Kariba (NSS), Highlanders v FC Platinum (Barbourfields), Triangle v Ngezi Platinum Stars (Gibbo), Hwange v GreenFuels (Luveve)