Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
TITLE-CHASING Dynamos will be without chief striker Christian Epoupa Ntuoba this afternoon when they take on Bulawayo City in a Castle Lager Premiership match which they just need to win to keep their hopes alive. The Cameroonian forward has been ruled out through suspension. He picked yellow cards in matches against Harare City, ZPC Kariba and Chapungu.
A long list of players will miss the mid-week games through suspension with Chicken Inn midfielder Thabani Goredema, Tsholotsho’s Talent Tavengwa and Tatenda Tavengwa, the Highlanders duo of Erick Mudzingwa and Godfrey Makaruse, How Mine defender Milton Ncube, Black Rhinos’ Taurai Chigudu and the Yadah Stars duo of skipper Jimmy Dzingai and Johannes Sibanda. Mutasa said they planned for today’s match without Ntouba in the equation.
“We are on the right path as much as it is a blow,’’ said coach Lloyd Mutasa.
“We knew in time of the suspension and had prepared for the game without Christian. Barbourfields, we have a good record there. We played Highlanders and collected points and How Mine and collected points as well. Barbourfields is another home ground for us were we enjoy a good support and our Bulawayo fans are among the best and this should motivate the boys to do well. We have said we would want to get as many points as we can from the remaining games but it is not going to be easy, they are tricky games and we will take each game as it comes.”
DeMbare will practically camp in Bulawayo this week hoping to collect six points in the City of Kings. After their meeting with Bulawayo City this afternoon, they will remain there for another encounter against Bantu Rovers at the weekend. These two matches are very crucial for Mutasa and his men who want to maintain the pressure on the leading pack and at the same time hoping for a slip-up from Ngezi Platinum and FC Platinum.
This season DeMbare, who enjoy a good support base in Bulawayo, have posted good results at Barbourfields by thrashing How Mine 6-0, settling for a goalless draw against Chicken Inn and being awarded a 3-0 victory for their abandoned match against Highlan- ders.
The game was abandoned because of crowd trouble after a controversial DeMbare equaliser towards the end of the first half. Mutasa said they were focusing on their game and then, after 90 minutes, look at how their rivals would have performed. Two of their rivals Ngezi Platinum and Chicken Inn would be involved in a bruising battle at Baobab this afternoon while FC Platinum will be away to relegated Tsholotsho. The match has since been moved to Luveve from Dulivadzimu.
The Premier Soccer League are now setting the fixtures for leading pack at the same time starting from this afternoon. On Saturday, only the four teams which are involved in the race will be in action, while the rest of the league will play on Sunday.
Today: Bulawayo City v Dynamos (Barbourfields), Ngezi Platinum v Chicken Inn (Baobab), ZPC Kariba v Triangle (Nyamhunga), Harare City v Black Rhinos (Rufaro), Chapungu v Bantu Rovers (Ascot), Tsholotsho v FC Platinum (Luveve), CAPS United v Yadah (National Sports Stadium), Shabanie v Hwange (Maglas).
Tomorrow: Highlanders v How Mine (Barbourfields).
Saturday: FC Platinum v Ngezi Platinum (Mandava), Chicken Inn v Chapungu (Luveve), Bantu Rovers v Dynamos (Barbourfields).
Sunday: CAPS United v Bulawayo City (National Sports Stadium), Yadah v Highlanders (Rufaro), How Mine v Shabanie (Luveve), Hwange v Harare City (Colliery), Black Rhinos v ZPC Kariba (Morris Depot).