Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
HERENTALS coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva has described the in-house challenges facing giants Dynamos as an unnecessary distraction as the two teams prepare to square off in a Castle Lager Premiership match at the National Sports Stadium this Sunday.
The Glamour Boys suspended their coach Tonderai Ndiraya just days after their league game against Highlanders was rocked by crowd trouble.
They also became the first team to be sanctioned for crowd trouble after the PSL Disciplinary Committee last week handed them a US$4 000 fine, while their team manager Richard Chihoro was slapped with a US$2 000 fine for disturbances which rocked their 2-0 win over Bulawayo Chiefs at Barbourfields in March this year.
The Dynamos executive committee this week have been working round the clock to address the challenges in their squad following the suspension of Ndiraya.
No explanations have been given for the drastic move but the leadership have engaged the players and technical team at their training ground to keep them focused.
The Glamour Boys are likely to go into the game against The Students without their head coach, with assistants Naison Muchekela and Gift Muzadzi holding the fort.
It’s been such a roller coaster ride at the Harare giants in the last few days but their opponents Herentals have said they will not allow themselves to be distracted.
The Students coach Mutiwekuziva yesterday said they respect the Glamour Boys despite the current side shows.
“Dynamos are not an easy team to play any given day. Just look at their position on the log standings, that on its own tells you they are a strong side.
“They have had a good run (of nine games unbeaten) although that was disturbed by the unfortunate scenes in Bulawayo in their game against Highlanders.
“So we are not going to look at whatever is happening there; whatever is happening with the coaches and the executive. What we know is Dynamos is a big institution.
“They have experienced such situations several times before and have pulled through. It’s quite common particularly with these big teams. “So I have been telling our players that what happens outside the pitch is not for us, it can be an unnecessary distraction. Rather, we will focus on the game that we are going to play with them on Sunday and we are preparing accordingly,” said Mutiwekuziva.
Herentals have had quite a decent run in this campaign and are currently in eighth place with 22 points, nine behind log leaders Chicken Inn.
They are sitting above traditional giants Highlanders and CAPS United, who are wallowing in the bottom half of the table, as the season drifts towards the halfway mark.
Dynamos, on the other hand, have had a strong start this year and are currently second in the league race, with 30 points, one behind leaders Chicken Inn.
There have been concerns the squabbling in DeMbare could come back to haunt a promising campaign but the club’s executive chairman Isaiah Mupfurutsa dismissed the notion.
Ndiraya was asked not to report for training on Tuesday and Dynamos have not revealed the reasons for the suspension. This has fuelled speculation within and outside the institution, ahead of the resumption of the Premiership games this week.
Ndiraya has presided over 15 league matches this season, garnering 30 out of a possible 45 points. DeMbare are just a point behind leaders Chicken Inn, with just two rounds of matches before the season reaches the half way point.
Ndiraya was last month voted Coach of the Month as DeMbare were unbeaten in nine straight league matches until their last match against Bosso that was abandoned due to crowd trouble, with the Bulawayo giants leading 1-0.
Dynamos chairman Mupfurutsa said Ndiraya was due to appear before a hearing.
“There is an internal process going on. Ndiraya is still our head coach, though suspended, as communicated in the press statement.
“He is waiting for a disciplinary hearing, which we think will be done before the weekend and as soon as it is done, we will notify everyone.
“All that has been said is not true but lies. All the allegations that have risen through social media are lies.
“We respect the privacy of all our officials and we have never said anything beyond the press statement,” said Mupfurutsa.
The league is set to resume with a bang this weekend as fans will be able to watch the games on Zimpapers’ newly-launched television station, ZTN Prime, on DStv.
The fixtures were suspended by the PSL leadership last weekend to pave way for the security indaba that was expected to come up with recommendations to address the scourge of hooliganism that ruined Dynamos, Highlanders and FC Platinum matches recently.
The league games will return this Saturday with Highlanders travelling to Nyamhunga to face ZPC Kariba in a lunch time kickoff.
The game between Harare City and Bulawayo Chiefs at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday will be the first to be broadcast on ZTN Prime, channel 294, as local football returns on DStv for the first time since 2017 when PSL and SuperSport ended their five-year marriage.
ZTN Prime will also broadcast the match between Dynamos and Herentals on Sunday. The station had hitherto been streaming the topflight games on their Facebook page, with marked success, following a landmark deal they entered into with the PSL in May last year.
ZTN Prime is accessible to DStv Premium, Compact Plus, Compact, Access and Lite bouquet customers.
ZPC Kariba v Highlanders (Nyamhunga, 1pm), Black Rhinos v Whawha (Sakubva), Harare City v Bulawayo City (NSS), Chicken Inn v Yadah (Luveve), FC Platinum v Triangle (Mandava), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Manica Diamonds (Baobab)
Tenax v Cranborne Bullets (Sakubva), Dynamos v Herentals (NSS), Bulawayo Chiefs v CAPS Utd