Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
DEFENDING champions Dynamos gave away considerable ground in the Castle Lager Premiership soccer title race at the weekend as dark horses FC Platinum halted their unbeaten run which had stretched 13 games and made their own intentions known in the destiny of this year’s championship at Mandava on Saturday.
DeMbare had gone for four months without a defeat, despite featuring in a number of stalemates, and it needed FC Platinum to burst the bubble when they inflicted Tonderai Ndiraya his first defeat since his appointment last month.
FC Platinum stunned Dynamos 3-1.
The Harare giants had last tasted a league defeat back on May 6 when they were beaten 1-0 by Whawha at Ascot but they were largely undone by the huge number of draws which they played, leading to the dismissal of coach David “Yogi” Mandigora.
Interestingly, the champions meet Whawha in the reverse fixture at Rufaro on Wednesday.
Dynamos’ latest defeat came at the hands of FC Platinum, who have been consistent of late and have now stretched their unbeaten run to 13 matches following the win over the Glamour Boys.
Since taking over from Mandigora, Ndiraya has presided over four league matches, managing to collect 10 points from those encounters.
But meeting a fired-up FC Platinum, who are also in the league race, DeMbare found the going tough at Mandava which in the past has proved to be a good hunting ground for them.
In 2011, the Glamour Boys got the priceless points at Mandava when they beat the host team then under the guidance of Rahman Gumbo 1-0, to level points with FC Platinum on the log table, who, going into that match, were three points ahead of the Harare giants.
FC Platinum defender Daniel Vheremu scored an own goal on that super-charged afternoon with both teams still left with one round of matches to play.
The two teams went on to win their league last matches but for DeMbare the battle had been won at Mandava and they were crowned champions as they had a superior goal difference over the Platinum Boys.
And four years later, on Saturday, the two teams met again, when they are both involved in the bruising league race.
Although eight games are still left before the league is decided and a lot can happen, for now FC Platinum can safely say they got their revenge as they eased into the second position with 41 points, dislodging Dynamos who remained static on 39 points.
The weekend’s result has put Platinum Boys into steady.
Even though coach Norman Mapeza has been refusing to talk about the championship race, saying they are just concentrating on winning matches as they don’t want some unnecessary pressure.
All eyes are now on the Zvishavane side who, on Saturday, got their goals from their Zambian international striker Obrey Chirwa and Gift Bello.
Dynamos striker Takesure Chinyama’s goal early in the first half was not enough to help his team come back from Zvishavane with something in their bag.
The championship race is getting intense as pacesseters Chicken Inn also marched on with another victory against ZPC Kariba at the weekend.
While Triangle, who appear to be losing some steam, having gone for the last four matches without a victory, maintained their fourth spot and are still within an asking distance.
Interestingly, Dynamos and FC Platinum meet again this weekend in the Chibuku Super Cup quarter-finals.
However, before they can think about Chibuku Super Cup, Dynamos would have to plot how they can tame a stubborn Whawha who are under their former coach Lloyd “Samaita” Mutasa.
When Ndiraya was appointed the substantive coach at Dynamos, his second match was against Whawha in the Chibuku Super Cup first round, and a late winner in the 89th minute by forward Richard Kawondera carried the day for the Harare giants.
Wednesday: ZPC Kariba v Harare City (Nyamhunga), How Mine v FC Platinum (Luveve), Chapungu v Tsholotsho (Ascot), Dynamos v Whawha (Rufaro), Triangle v Chicken Inn (Gibbo), Hwange v CAPS UNITED (Colliery).
Thursday: Highlanders v Flame Lily (Barbourfields), Buffaloes v Dongo Sawmill (Sakubva).