BUNCH OF MISFITS . . . Relegation a real possibility as DeMbare woes mount
Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
Harare City ………… (1) 1
Dynamos ……………… 0
IT just keeps getting increasingly desperate with each passing game for beleaguered Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa and his bunch of club misfits.
The Harare giants were yesterday left occupying the last spot of safety on the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table after succumbing to a narrow defeat to Harare City at Rufaro.
City forward Ishmael Wadi ensured there was still nothing to smile about for Mutasa and his men when he beat goalkeeper Simba Chinani with a fine grounder struck on the turn, just eight minutes on the board.
Wadi, who barely lasted 15 minutes before he limped off injured, still made his cameo appearance count despite having fluffed an early opportunity when he glided over a couple of tackles and stormed into the box, only to shoot weakly at the badly exposed Dynamos goalkeeper.
Yet DeMbare could not find a response to the damage he had caused before he departed to be replaced by William Manondo.
The defeat meant Dynamos have not won a match in their last three outings and are now back in the relegation matrix.
Their fortunes have taken a serious knock with just eight games left before the end of the season.
DeMbare were leapfrogged by Yadah and Chapungu at the weekend and are now just two points above the drop zone.
Pressure has been mounting on coach Mutasa and his charges to find a panacea to the team’s woes on the pitch but their miserable script continued yesterday with another barren 90 minutes of football.
DeMbare have not just failed to win in their last three assignments but they have also failed to score in those 270 minutes of Premiership action.
Mutasa will probably draw some measure of consolation from the fact that unlike in their game against Chapungu at the same venue on Thursday, Dynamos had some decent opportunities yesterday with star midfielder Denver Mukamba rattling the upright while Quality Kangadze made several attempts either side of the break.
The Dynamos coach said he was increasingly getting worried by the team’s impotence in front of goal, which has been their major weakness this season.
“It’s a bit worrisome. You play three games and you don’t score a goal and obviously it becomes clear for everybody to see that our problem is the failure to put the ball past the goal line.
“But the creativity is there. We are getting into the scoring positions but we are just failing with the last touch,” said Mutasa.
DeMbare started without their new signing Kingston Nkhata, skipper Ocean Mushure and defender Peace Makaha, who was ruled out through suspension.
Harare City controlled play in the first half with Moses Muchenje, Malvin Gaki and Tellmore Pio winning most of the tussles in midfield.
It was always going to be a tall order for Dynamos to come back after Wadi had swung the match in the Sunshine Boys’ favour with his early strike.
Mukamba and Kangadze came close with a couple of chances for DeMbare but the goal was elusive.
Frustrated DeMbare fans disrupted the match towards half-time when they rained missiles on the pitch protesting referee Norman Matemera’s decision to wave play on following what appeared a handball near City’s goal.
Harare City goalkeeper Ryan Harrison almost gifted DeMbare with a goal when he fumbled Blessing Moyo’s free-kick on the hour mark before Mukamba was denied by the underside of the crossbar from another set-piece 10 minutes later.
Ryan Harrison, who made a difference with some fine saves for his side, was called to make a crucial block with five minutes remaining to thwart substitute Bret Amidu’s header from the back post.
“When you look at the result, it’s not good enough but you look at the second half performance and the effort these youngsters are putting in, the zeal and determination of wanting to break the duck is there and we can only but live on hope,” said Mutasa.
But Harare City could have doubled their score deep in added time when William Manondo broke free from a swift counter-attack but took time to pull the trigger allowing Phamakani Dube, who has been one of the outstanding players at DeMbare of late, to make a timely interception.
Still Harare City managed to complete a double over Dynamos and have now hit the initial target set for them by the coach Mark Harrison of 40 points.
The Briton can now target a top eight finish.
Mark Harrison, however, spared some thought for his Dynamos and was also sympathetic to his struggling counterpart, Mutasa, whose team slumped to their 10th defeat this season.
“Obviously after the goal, the problem is if you are playing a team that has its back against the wall and in desperate need of a point, we knew they were always going to give us a hard time.
“We knew that they would never let go easily, they would chase everything, they would chase down and we had to be prepared for that battle.
“Fortunately, we got that goal at the right time, it gave us something to hold on to. They pressed hard. To be honest, I don’t think this season there have been too many teams who pressed us down like that.
“I said to the coach (Mutasa) after the game if their boys play like that every week they will get the points they need to stay in the league. They should continue with that fighting spirit,” said Harrison.
Harare City: R. Harrison, H. Chapusha, T. Chimwemwe, M. Diro, B. Chayambuka, M. Muchenje, L. Muyambo, T. Pio (T. Samanja, 87th min), M. Gaki (D. Chimwemwe, 77th min), K. Musharu, I. Wadi (W. Manondo, 16th min).
Dynamos: S. Chinani, G. Mukambi, J. Tigere, P. Dube, M. Machazane, B. Moyo, G. Saunyama (K. Dhemere, 55th min), C. Kapupurika (T. Macheke, 69th min), Q. Kangadze, D. Mukamba, K. Kumwala (B. Amidu, 53rd min)