Dembare’s delight

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter —

Dynamos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(0) 1

Highlanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0) 1

(Dynamos won 3-2 after penalties)

TWO years after their last cup success, Dynamos finally remembered how to win silverware when they edged into a new Independence Cup record with victory over old rivals Highlanders in a lively final at the National Sports Stadium yesterday.

Goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga was the hero for DeMbare after saving two penalties, while Peace Makaha ensured the silverware would head to the Glamour Boys trophy cabinet when holding his nerve to beat veteran goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda after Bosso had forced the match into a tie-break with an injury time goal courtesy of Ralph Matema who cancelled out Masimba Mambare’s 55th minute lead.

Yesterday’s win ensured that the Glamour Boys have now won the Uhuru Cup a record eighth time, while Highlanders have seven titles and CAPS United are third with four titles.

The win was a huge plus for coach Lloyd Mutasa who is currently leading a rebuilding exercise with a group of virtual unknowns.

Mutasa struggled to keep back his tears in an emotional end to the game that lived to its billing in front of a capacity crowd at the giant stadium as DeMbare players and supporters burst into a frenzy celebrating the end of a barren spell that had stretched over two years.

“The youngsters played well. We created chances and scored one but we allowed them (Highlanders) t0 claw back in the later stages of the game. The good thing however, was that the youngsters never lost confidence. We always had hope from the onset and with faith I think we made it,’’ said Mutasa.

Mutasa also reckoned the win could be a turning point for their fortunes.

“I would like to believe it could be the turning point but then it all comes back to us. As long as we keep our feet on the ground, as long as we know this is Dynamos and that everyone who wants to play for Dynamos puts 120 percent effort.

“If these youngsters work as hard as they are doing now, we may probably need to take each game as it comes and see where we will be at the end of the year,” said Mutasa.

Dynamos last walked away with silverware in 2015 then under David “Yogi’’ Mandigora, they collected the Bob 91 Cup with a triumph over city rivals CAPS United at Rufaro.

Since then the Harare giants had seen the glamour evaporate from them as they tottered out of reckoning for the league championship and the knock-out competitions.

Yet they had been so ruthless in 2014 under Callisto Pasuwa, featuring in five cup finals and winning three — Bob 90, TM, Pick n Pay Challenge and Gushungo Victory Cup while they also claimed their record fourth successive Premiership title.

Former Warriors coach Pasuwa then quit his post under a huff at the end of that fine season and with it seemed to go Dynamos’ dominance as they could only manage one victory a year later.

Dynamos, now on a rebuilding exercise in Mutasa’s second spell as coach, however, rolled back the hands of time yesterday when they powered to a deserved victory, albeit via the penalty shoot-out in this encounter that was worthy of a battle of Zimbabwe before a packed National Sports Stadium.

Substitute Mambare had appeared to have done enough to win the match for Dynamos in regulation time when he scored just three minutes after coming on as a 55th minute substitute.

Bosso, however, protested the goal as the referee Brighton Chimene had waved play on from an earlier attack after far side assistant referee Claris Simango had raised her flag up.

Mambare benefited from a stylish back heel from newboy Quality Kangadze to place the ball beyond goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda with his first contribution to the Glamour Boys.

Impressive winger Emmanuel Mandiranga, who had a good day on the park, had the Dynamos fans on the edge of their seats with a beautiful run cutting in from the far right but his curling shot was denied by the woodwork.

Bosso however, refused to be cowed into submission and kept on fighting until the death.

Erol Akbay’s men upped the pressure and kept probing especially in the final 15 minutes in which Dynamos needed the heroics of young goalkeeper Mateyaunga to survive.

The introduction of veteran forward Ralph Matema turned the game in Highlanders’ favour as he joined former DeMbare man Rodreck Mutuma and Prince Dube to pile the pressure on the Glamour Boys.

But with the four minutes of the referee’s optional time virtually up and in what was Bosso’s last attack of the match, DeMbare capitulated and Warriors defender Elisha Muroiwa handled in the box.

Chimene did not hesitate to make the big call and pointed to the spot and Matema sent Mateyaunga the wrong way to throw the game into penalties.

Matema could however, not do a repeat on the DeMbare goalkeeper as he crashed Highlanders’ first spot kick onto the woodwork in the shoot-out lottery.

Mateyaunga continued with his heroics during the kicks from the penalty spot when saving twice from Simon Munawa and Peter Muduhwa to give Dynamos the advantage after Ocean Mushure and Mambare had missed DeMbare’s opening two penalties.

The shoot-out was as dramatic as the end of the regulation time with the more seasoned players from both sides guilty of missing their kicks.

Prince Dube and Allen Gahadzikwa scored for Bosso but DeMbare were on point with their final three kicks that were converted by Mandiranga, Phakamani Dube and Makaha.

Though impressed by the quality of the game yesterday, Highlanders coach Akbay said it was always going to be difficult to hold the nerve in front of such a huge crowd.

“We played better football in the second half than the first. In the first half we were very nervous, everybody was not playing possession football like we normally do.

“But after conceding 1-0 we played better football and we managed to score with seconds remaining and it was a good boost. But then we missed three penalties, what can I do? We lost the match today and I am very disappointed.

“There was nothing wrong with my players but sometimes you know when there are 60 000 people around you it’s not easy to play football. Dynamos had the same problem so it’s not an excuse,” said Akbay.

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