Makomborero Mutimukulu in GWERU—
Chapungu . . . .. . . . 0
Dynamos . . . . .. (3) 4
FINALLY, after 95 days, the final whistle sounded to signal the end of this Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie with Dynamos ascending to the top of the table and their coach Lloyd Mutasa declaring a burning desire to stay there until the end of the season. It was always going to be a joke, wasn’t it?
A PSL verdict ordering both teams to field the same set of players they used on June 18 was as pathetic as they come and a boob that will taint the integrity of this year’s championship race.
It’s sad that when the league needed a voice to explain why they have allowed this mess to unravel before us, all the authoritative voices at the PSL went into silent mode.
Talk of dereliction of duty, it doesn’t get as worse as this.
But, then, we are getting used to such madness in our football, isn’t it?
Chapungu must be commended for trying to live up to Fifa Fair Play standards, even if it meant sacrificing some players.
In fact, the airmen ended up fielding just 10 players for the game yesterday and to expect them to overhaul a four-goal deficit, playing a man short, was expecting a miracle.
Elsewhere, such issues are usually dealt with just 24 hours after the abandonment of the original match. And the rule to field the same set of players is easily implementable.
Where, the issues drag on for weeks, not three months as was in our case, the clubs are granted flexibility to play around with players who could have featured in the abandoned game.
If you couldn’t feel for Chapungu, for all the mountains they moved just to ensure they threw a decent team onto the field yesterday, then you must be a pretty tough fellow.
Ian Nyoni and Maxwell Mavuto are grounded by injury, but only one of them could be replaced as Chapungu had used two of their allotted three substitutes on the day DeMbare ran riot with Emmanuel Mandiranga scoring a brace and Denver Mukamba and Christian Epoupa helping themselves to a goal apiece.
Just trying to remember a time when Mandiranga was not only scoring a brace but was also a regular in the DeMbare starting XI puts everything wrong about this game into context. It’s a long time ago, three months to be precise, and a lot has changed since then.
Mavuto was replaced by Brighton Mugoni, while Dynamos had Phakamani Dube coming in for Obey Mwerahari, who is also injured but was on the park when the match was abandoned.
With the substitutions done, the game resumed with a Chapungu goal kick.
Yes, you heard it correctly — a goal kick because that should have been the next piece of action on that day in June before the goalposts gave in under the weight of a ‘keeper. The home side’s goalie Talbert Shumba — who picked up the ball from the back of the net four times back in June — was so determined not to concede anymore.
Shumba wasted time at every given turn and must have chewed three of the 34 minutes that were on offer. Denver Mukamba was also on the park and the way he struggled with the stuff he used to do with his eyes closed blended well into this comical narrative. The midfielder, who clearly needs help, struggled with the basics such as controlling and passing the ball.
It’s highly unlikely that his name will feature on the DeMbare team sheet anytime soon. The handful of Dynamos fans who paid $2 to watch this charade willed Mandiranga to his hat-trick but this was a stop —start 34 minute affair. It was a relief to hear the sound of the final whistle.
Twice, Dynamos have stumbled when the chance to shoot to the apex of the standings was on offer, drawing 1-1 with Highlanders in a heated Battle of Zimbabwe and falling to 0-1 to CAPS United over the weekend. This is not exactly the way they would have wanted to ascend to the top of the tree but after coming unstuck against Bosso and Makepekepe the Glamour Boys will probably argue that the end justifies the means.
‘’We have always wished to feel how it is at the top and now that we are there the intention is to make sure that we stay there,’’ said Mutasa who was mobbed by Dynamos fans at the sound of the final whistle. The Dynamos gaffer gave Valentine Ndaba a run with five minutes remaining and the midfielder showed hunger that was lacking among his teammates, including Mukamba.
‘’Motivating the boys for this 34 minute game was a challenge because we came here leading 4-0 and you could see the complacency they went about business with. ‘’We gave Chapungu some chances and our goalie (Tonderai Mateyaunga) had to make some good saves. ‘’The good thing is we have safely negotiated this passage and now look forward to the next challenge against Bulawayo City in the Chibuku Super Cup,’’ said Mutasa.Maybe, who knows, those who gave us this charade had taken one too many of those Chibuku Scuds.