BALL IN DEMBARE’S COURT
DYNAMOS coach Herbert “Jompano” Maruwa is a relieved man after four of his key players passed a late fitness test ahead of their Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie against Cranborne Bullets at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.
The Glamour Boys will reclaim their place at the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer standings with a win against the struggling army side.
CAPS United, FC Platinum and Highlanders overtook DeMbare after posting positive results in their respective match day outings on Good Friday.
As a result, DeMbare dropped from pole position to fourth. And, with the Glamour Boys only playing today, the other two giants and defending champions FC Platinum, spent the entire Easter Holiday sitting on top of Maruwa’s team.
Log leaders Makepekepe beat Black Rhinos 2-0 to take their points tally to 10 while FC Platinum moved to within just one point of the Green Machine with a comeback 2-1 win over Bulawayo Chiefs at Mandava. Bosso remained third on eight points following their draw against Chicken Inn.
However, the Glamour Boys, on seven points and with a game in hand, will retain control of the race with maximum points over win-less Nesbert “Yabo” Saruchera’s side.
Because of goal difference, a win by any margin will see them going atop again.
Usually, playing after close rivals at the top have already played comes with added pressure but for Maruwa, it has been a blessing in disguise.
His team has been hamstrung with injuries to key players.
But they all passed a late fitness test at the weekend and Maruwa will have a full complement of the squad to pick from for this afternoon’s encounter.
The quartet of captain Frank Makarati, midfielders Donald “Kante” Mudadi and Tendai Matindife as well as striker Nyasha Chintuli have been carrying varying injuries.
Makarati and Mudadi clashed heads in DeMbare’s goalless draw against Simba Bhora last week while Matindife hobbled out with a leg injury from the same match.
Chintuli had been mugged and he aggravated the injuries in the same match forcing Maruwa to replace him in the first half.
And all the four were doing light training awaiting a late fitness test which they passed at the weekend.
The team did some light training yesterday morning before camping for the crucial tie at the giant stadium.
Maruwa said it is all systems go as he has a wide pool of players to choose from.
“I am happy that those guys who spent most of last week on the treatment table have all recovered.
“They all passed a late fitness test on Saturday and they have trained together with the rest of the team this morning (yesterday).” They are all available for selection,” said Maruwa.
“We know the size of the task that is awaiting us against Cranborne Bullets.
“They (Cranborne Bullets) are still searching for their first set of three points and they could be very dangerous.
“They have a very good coach and an impressive team as well.
“Our rivals have done so well over the past weekend.
“And we should just play our normal game and try to reclaim top spot.
“The league is proving to be very competitive and you ought to respect everyone.
“We are calling our fans to come in their numbers and rally the team. We will go out there, put in the work and try to win the match.
“Dynamos is a big team and the aim is to play some good football and collect the points.” The Glamour Boys will be buoyed with the availability of one of the best strikers in the country — Jayden Bakare.
The former Whawha man, who won the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Rookie of the Year last season, has missed the first three games for Dynamos as his papers were not in order.
He has been cleared now and he could start the match against the military outfit.
The 19-year-old scored a wonder goal against Cranborne Bullets when he was still turning out for Whawha last season and he will be hoping to find the target as he makes his much-awaited debut for the giants.
Meanwhile midfielder Arthur “Diego” Musiyiwa believes the Glamour Boys have what it takes to mount a challenge on the league title.
The former Bulawayo Chiefs man has been one of the most consistent players for Dynamos after starting in all the opening three matches this season.
He said DeMbare should be grounded while keeping the focus in every game they play.
“As a team we shouldn’t give ourselves too much pressure as we have to focus on our own games,” said Musiyiwa.
“We don’t have to put ourselves under much pressure but the match against Cranborne Bullets is a must-win for us to reclaim the top spot on the log.
“But the honest truth is that Cranborne Bullets are never pushovers. They are a team that is capable of beating anyone in the league and we have to be compact to win.
“We have to play every game as if it’s a final if we are to sustain the push.”
Dynamos beat Cranborne Bullets 1-0 at home last season before they lost by an identical scoreline in the return fixture at Vengere.