Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
DYNAMOS skipper Murape Murape says the defending champions are looking to maintain their place at the top of the table and has warned Chapungu to brace for reprisal when Premiership action resumes this weekend. The Harare giants are set to host the Air Force of Zimbabwe side at Rufaro on Sunday hoping to avenge the 1-0 defeat they suffered in the first leg fixture at Ascot in April.
Talent Mwale gave Chapungu the winner with a 28th-minute strike.
The wound, however, is still fresh in the DeMbare hearts and Murape feels it’s payback time.
“It’s very rare that a team can collect six points from Dynamos. We all know what happened in the first leg, we haven’t forgotten that we lost at Ascot, but now it’s our turn to win at home.
“Any other result besides victory will not be satisfactory. A draw in this case would also mean that we have donated four points to Chapungu this year, which is unacceptable. We have been working on our shortcomings and this time we are hoping to come out victorious,” said Murape.
The Glamour Boys currently lead the table with a two-point cushion over ZPC Kariba and Murape believes they have to win all the remaining five games to make sure that they bag the championship without the use of calculators like what has been happening in the last three seasons. DeMbare are unbeaten in 14 games and they are looking to continue with their form, picking up from the 1-0 away victory at Buffaloes in the outing before last weekend’s break to pave way for the Chibuku Super Cup semi-finals. Murape, however, was worried the break could affect their momentum although DeMbare did not stop training.
“The good thing is we didn’t relax during this short break. We even trained on Saturday and Sunday, which shows how serious the coaches are with winning the championship.
“This same seriousness has to be impressed in our minds as players. It’s not easy to be at the top of the table because everyone will be aiming their guns at you.
“Expectations are high from our supporters and there is also this pressure coming from all directions, but as Dynamos we are used to it.
“The bottom line is we need to win all our remaining games because that’s the only way we can guarantee our campaign. We haven’t been scoring enough goals so we are aiming to win the league on points, not goal difference,” said Murape.
Their opponents Chapungu are more concerned with survival.
But the airmen who got off to a flying start and went on a lengthy unbeaten run at Ascot, have now not won a game since September 3 when they outplayed Chicken Inn 3-0 in Gweru. Chapungu are also set to bag three points from their walkover on troubled Chiredzi who arrived late at Ascot and without player licences and uniforms for the aborted match.
Despite their contrasting fortunes in the last few weeks, Murape said they are not going to treat their rivals lightly.
“On paper it appears like it’s a very easy assignment, but to us it’s a big task. Remember there are no easy games for Dynamos because whatever team we play will put 100 percent effort just to get the satisfaction of beating us.
“Just because we are at home there is always that danger of underrating our opponents but everyone in the team now understands that complacency shouldn’t be found among us in the last five games,” said Murape.
DeMbare are leading the race with 49 points, two above surprise packages ZPC Kariba. Chapungu on the other hand are battling to keep their place in the top-flight league.
Their coach John Nyikadzino said they are looking forward to a tough outing against Dynamos but remained bullish.
“Like what all coaches say, Dynamos are a very good team and it’s always difficult playing them at this time of the year when the league championship is tilting towards the climax.
“It’s no secret they want the championship and they are at home, but we also need to consolidate our place in the league. Our aim this year is to survive relegation and we are focusing on that. Every point counts. So this is going to be a difficult match for both teams,” said Nyikadzino.
While DeMbare appear to have most of their regular players available for selection, the airmen are set to miss two key men Brighton Mugoni and Blessed Mbavarira through injuries.
Friday: How Mine v Chiredzi (Hartsfield)
Saturday: Bantu Rovers v Shabanie Mine (Hartsfield), Black Rhinos v Hwange (Rimuka), FC Platinum v ZPC Kariba (Mandava)
Sunday: Buffaloes v Harare City (Sakubva), Triangle United v CAPS United (Gibbo), Dynamos v Chapungu (Rufaro), Highlanders v Chicken Inn (Hartsfield)