Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
DYNAMOS face a huge challenge ahead of the NetOne OneWallet Cup final against Triangle on Sunday as first-choice goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi is down with injury and battling against time to play in the big game.
Mukandi has not been able to train the whole week with a hip problem, after picking an injury in the league match against Shabanie at Rufaro on Sunday and bravely completing the game despite being in severe pain.
The ‘keeper, though, was barely tested after suffering his injury.
He may have to take a fitness test today to determine the chances of his availability.
Dynamos are eyeing the NetOne OneWallet Cup to boost their momentum in the league home stretch where they lead the race with a two-point cushion.
The club’s goalkeepers coach Tichaona Diya said they were keeping their fingers crossed as Mukandi was still in pain yesterday.
The former Monomotapa man has kept goal for the Glamour Boys since the departure of George Chigova in July but may miss the final of the eight-team tournament after landing badly on the hard turf at Rufaro on Sunday.
“He is in pain. We just hope he recovers before Sunday’s game. We are looking forward to some encouraging developments,” said Diya.
DeMbare continued with their preparations yesterday with Tatenda Mukuruva and newboy Divine Mhoya, who joined them from Division One side Zimplats recently.
In case Mukandi does not recover on time, the Glamour Boys still sounded positive with the cover they have in the duo of the young goalkeepers.
Mukuruva, who is second behind Mukandi in the pecking order, is the one likely to fill in the void in the event the first-choice ‘keeper, as is largely feared, fails to make the team.
“We don’t have any problem with Tatenda playing in this Cup final. He is someone who has been waiting all along to get his chance,” said Diya.
“I think if Artwell fails to recover we are covered in that department. He is ready.
“It doesn’t really matter it’s a Cup final or not because all the games we play are tightly-contested, be it League or Cup.
“All the teams usually prepare well for Dynamos so the challenge is just the same.”
Mukuruva joined his teammates when they resumed training this week from national duty as he was part of the national Under-23 team that toured Botswana for a friendly match against the Zebras.
Defender, Blessing Moyo, was also in the Young Warriors side that lost 0-1 to the hosts. There was more good news in the DeMbare camp with the return of midfielder Masimba Mambare, who is finally available for selection this weekend after shaking off a protracted knee injury.
Mambare looked comfortable as he trained with the rest of the team yesterday and Diya indicated that he could be available this weekend.
Stephen Alimenda, who was rested last week, resumed training but there wasn’t any good news with regards to Walter Mukanga and his ankle injury.
Dynamos trained without their head coach Callisto Pasuwa, who was in Egypt attending a 2014 Fifa World Cup review programme and is expected to join the side today.
The team moved from their usual training ground, Zimphos, to the match venue at the National Sports Stadium.
The grass surface at the giant stadium looks to be in its best state and would be ideal for a Cup final.
The Glamour Boys appeared in high spirits with assistant coach Philemon Mutyakureva, Diya and juniors coach Herbert Maruwa taking them through their paces.
The side practiced all aspects of the game, including taking penalties, just in case the match ends in a stalemate and would need to be decided by the dreaded lottery of spot kicks.
They probably had it on the back of their minds that their opponents — Triangle — have reached this far after winning all their games through penalty shootouts.
Triangle edged Harare City 7-6 in the quarter-final tie-breaker after the teams had played a 1-1 draw.
Biggie Zuze’s men needed another lottery in the semi-finals where they beat Chicken Inn 5-3 following a barren 90 minutes.
Dynamos eliminated bitter rivals CAPS United with a 1-0 win in the quarter-finals before accounting for How Mine with a 2-0 victory.