From Eddie Chikamhi in LILONGWE,
Malawi Nyasa Big Bullets . . . . . . 0
Dynamos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0
TWO games and no goals for Harare giants Dynamos in the just-ended pre-season tour of Malawi, but coach Paulo Jorge Silva believes his boys will get it right before the start of the season early next month after their shortcomings came under the spotlight again in back to back international friendly matches against Nyasa Big Bullets. Silva said he has seen some positives in his players as concerns still linger in their strike-force after going for 270 minutes of competitive matches without finding the back of the nets. DeMbare yesterday settled for a goalless draw with the hosts at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe, just 24 hours after they had lost 1-0 to the same opponents in Blantyre.
DeMbare came to Malawi on the backdrop of a 1-0 defeat to ZPC Kariba in the quarter-finals of the ZNA Charities Soccer tournament at Rufaro and Silva would surely had wanted to see his strikers Roderick Mutuma, Richard Kawondera, Farai Mupasiri show some teeth in Malawi.
But as has been the case since the beginning of the preparations, the Glamour Boys strike-force continued to be the Achilles Heel. DeMbare, however, are still making plans to beef up the department ahead of the new season. Already a Nigerian attacking midfielder is in Zimbabwe for trials and a striker from the same country is expected this week while the Portuguese coach is still holding on to his hopes to convince two Brazilian players in his home country to join him at the Glamour Boys.
Silva, who was charmed by teenage striker King Nasama in the two games that he played against Bullets at the weekend, said he is now looking to invest much of his time and energy to develop the material at his disposal.
Nasama, a product of DeMbare development programme, caught the eye of the coach after he demonstrated hunger in front of goal which could be lacking in the senior players when he was given his debut in the blue and white stripe.
Silva said he will not press the panic button because of his misfiring strikers as he hopes to use the remainder of this month to work on the department ahead of their opening league match to Chicken Inn.
“I am not worried. I have a good team and you ask me if my strikers are good or not? “These are the ones that I have and I need to work on them. I believe they will score. “Like,you saw today, I have a super striker in my team now. That boy (Nasama) is only 17 years old but he is fighting like a man. So the Brazilian can stay in Brazil if he wants. I now want to work with these boys,” said Silva.
“It’s true the strikers are not scoring, but I believe in two or three weeks it will start to happen. We will get it right. “The boys are working hard but they are only missing the goal. But I believe when they start to score the gates will open.
“Sometimes we see it even in the big leagues like in England or Portugal, the strikers can play for two months and miss the goals but eventually most of them will score. My strikers are missing that little bit of lucky, but it’s got to happen.”
Silva yesterday started with a completely different set of strikers from the players that featured in the first match after Roderick Mutuma and Brett Amidu were rested. The responsibility upfront was handed to Richard Kawondera and Portuguese trialist Carlos Branco with Farai Mupasiri playing the supporting role.
Like in the previous match, DeMbare came close on several occasions and yesterday they were twice denied by the woodwork inside the opening half. Mupasiri crashed his header on the crossbar in the 35th minute, just moments after DeMbare had also survived in a similar fashion when Bullets’ new signing Muhammad Sulumba had out-jumped the Dynamos defence to connect a high ball from the left.
DeMbare’s rookie substitute Nasama was also unlucky when his first time connection from Kelvin Bulaji’s cross again came off the cross bar in a crowded penalty box.
Silva fielded a completely different team yesterday with Walter Mukanga getting the armband while DeMbare skipper Augustine Mbara and the rest of the players who started on Saturday watched from the sidelines.
In the second half, the Glamour Boys were shooting from all practical positions with second half substitute Godknows Murwira livening things up but they could not breach the Bullets defence. They had to play the long ball yesterday since the grass turf at Civo had an uneven bounce.
Mukanga pulled the strings in the midfield alongside new signing Tichaona Chipunza where they had to contend with rejuvenated former CAPS United midfielder George Nyirenda who has returned to revive his career back home.
Portuguese trialist Branco was also given a run for the first time but the forward din’’t last long on the pitch as he went down after only 11 minutes clutching at his hamstring. Silva did not take time to call for a substitute as Branco was replaced by the young forward, Nasama. But from the few minutes that he played, it appears Branco would need to do more to make the grade.
The tour may have comprised friendly games but the Harare giants, for their reputation and respect they command even here in Malawi, needed to avoid the humiliation of a whitewash. Besides the pre-season preparations, Bullets are using the matches as part of the events to mark the launch of their five-year sponsorship with Nyasa Manufacturing Company.
Dynamos: A. Reyners (T. Mukuruva, 46th minute), O. Mwerahari, K. Nyakasaka, S. Linyama, J. Dzingai, T. Chipunza, W. Mukanga, K. Bulaji (Murwira, 55th minute), F. Mupasiri (D. Mukandi 86th minute), Carlos Branco (K. Nasama, 11th minute), R. Kawondera (P. Makaha, 75th minute).