Tadious Manyepo–Sports Reporter
THE last time they played Highlanders at Barbourfields, Bill Antonio was off-colour.
Castle Lager Premiership football giants Dynamos usually turn to the youngster when the chips are down.
But on April 18, with the Presidential Independence Cup at stake, Antonio failed to switch on the lights.
He was put under lock and key by the unrelenting Bosso defence before a packed Barbourfields on a day the main Independence Day celebrations were held at the iconic Bulawayo venue for the first time in 42 years.
And barely a month after being frustrated, Antonio returns to the same venue for a date with the same team in a league tie tomorrow.
He has proven to be the piece Dynamos have been missing over the years to complete their jigsaw puzzle.
And he is walking with a spring in his step too after winning his first individual award having been voted the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League’s Player of the Month for April.
“It’s a major boost for me,” Antonio said.
“This is my first time to win a big individual award. And that is a good sign of things to come. It is a confidence booster, especially ahead of a big fixture against Highlanders.
“This is a game that we are all looking forward to and we will try hard to earn a win.
“Battles between Dynamos and Highlanders are always huge and tense. Growing up, I used to like watching them and now being part of the story is like a dream. It is historical and I will put in all the work to try and help the club win this game.”
Antonio has started all the nine last consecutive matches DeMbare have gone without defeat.
The Glamour Boys will be looking to extend the unbeaten run against a club which has not lost in their last eight matches as well.
Dynamos lead the standings with 30 points to their name, two above Chicken Inn who face struggling CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow.
And a defeat for DeMbare could affect their position given Chicken Inn are the favourites to pick points against disorganised Makepekepe.
“We really need to put in the work. The spirit in the team is high-up and we should be able to get a positive result on Sunday.
“Highlanders are a very good side. They have very good players who can win any match and we should be wary of them,” Antonio said.
For a team which has not received winning bonuses since the beginning of this year to get a result at Barbourfields, Dynamos will have to be at their best given Bosso coach, Mandla ‘’Lulu’’ Mpofu, is sitting delicately at the helm.
His future literally depends on the outcome of tomorrow’s match.
Meanwhile, Dynamos board chairman, Bernard ‘’Magitare’’ Marriott-Lusengo has implored the team to win the match which they will dedicate to the deceased widow of the late founder member, Narisicius Murambiwa, the man credited for coining the name Dynamos.
His widow, Fatima Nengare, passed on in Seke yesterday at the age of 80.
She will be buried in Besa, Seke, tomorrow. Murambiwa is said to have come up with the name Dynamos in 1963 at the formation of the club.
Marriot, who is attending the funeral, said it is sad Nengare has died at a time when the team was finalising on the members trusts to which she was one of the beneficiaries.
Nevertheless, her children will benefit from the trusts.