Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
FOR more than seven hours now, Dynamos have relied on one man, Christian Epoupa Ntouba, to score goals for them. And, with the Cameroonian hitman unavailable for their midweek clash against Shabanie, fears abound their stay at the top of the Castle Lager Premiership table could be short-lived.
Ntouba is the only Glamour Boy who has been scoring in the last 424 minutes of action for Lloyd Mutasa’s men. The Cameroonian has been carrying all the goal-scoring baggage on his shoulders, with nothing coming from his teammates to complement his efforts.
He scored the second goal in the 2-0 home win over Yadah Stars at Rufaro on the hour mark, scored both goals in the 2-0 victory over CAPS United in the Harare Derby and scored the only goal in the 1-1 draw against Highlanders in the Battle of Zimbabwe.
Ntouba was unavailable for the reverse fixture of the Harare Derby as he served the first of his two-match league suspension, and DeMbare fired blanks as they fell 0-1 to the Green Machine.
He returned for the replay of the abandoned tie against Chapungu at Ascot, playing the half an hour that was prescribed by the league, and he didn’t score.
And no other DeMbare player scored, too.
Ntouba was on target in the Chibuku Super Cup first round tie against Bulawayo City at Rufaro on Sunday but, with no complement from his teammates, DeMbare crashed to a shock 1-2 defeat in the first round.
It’s now confirmed — Lloyd Mutasa will not match Callisto Pasuwa’s League and Cup Double-winning season in 2011 but the Dynamos gaffer says that doesn’t mean it’s now gloomy at the Glamour Boys. DeMbare’s embarrassing elimination from the Chibuku Super Cup at the very first hurdle ended their hopes for a League and Cup Double this season.
It’s something that Pasuwa, whose shadow continues to hang over DeMbare coaches who have come after him, achieved in his first season in charge of the Glamour Boys.
Ironically, Pasuwa was recruited to replace Mutasa after the DeMbare leadership lost confidence in the latter after a poor run back in 2011.
The man who would later win four straight league titles, and be promoted to lead the Warriors, started his tenure as DeMbare head coach by guiding the Glamour Boys to a League and Cup Double.
The Glamour Boys rallied to erase a huge points deficit and pip FC Platinum to the post in the league championship race while they also won the Mbada Diamonds Cup that season after beating Motor Action 1-0 in the final.
DeMbare’s elimination from the Chibuku Super Cup means they won’t win a League and Cup Double this season, but Mutasa maintains it’s not all doom and gloom at the Glamour Boys. They have failed to win their last three matches, which have gone the distance, including an embarrassing elimination from the Chibuku Super Cup at the hands of Bulawayo City.
But amid all this disappointment, they are still drawing confidence from their brilliant run in the championship after taking control of the race last week.
DeMbare rose to 52 points, one better than closest rivals Chicken Inn and FC Platinum, following the conclusion of the final 34 minutes of a league match against Chapungu that was abandoned three months ago.
“Obviously when you don’t win, and have been on a good phase, you would want to quickly bounce back. But, I think we are not scoring as much as we normally do and we are conceding goals in almost every game.
“That’s a negative part on our side and it’s something that we should quickly go back and work on,” said Mutasa.
With nine games remaining in the marathon, Mutasa said the league title is now their only hope of silverware this year.
Dynamos were outplayed by Bulawayo City in the second half of the Chibuku Super Cup first round clash which yielded two goals from Sipho Ndlovu and Zephaniah Ngodzo who cancelled out Ntouba’s early lead.
“We didn’t create many chances as a team. I don’t normally want to lay the blame on a certain department but I would want to give it to the whole team because when you talk of midfield we are talking of an area whereby even defenders can come and fortify that area.
‘’Strikers as well can come to provide support, so we lost as a team,” said Mutasa.
Dynamos were one of the six seeded teams that experienced upsets early in the tournament following the elimination of former Chibuku champions FC Platinum, Highlanders, ZPC Kariba, Triangle and last year’s winners Ngezi Platinum Stars. Chicken Inn are also staring exit after storming off the pitch in protest against a penalty decision and causing the abandonment of their clash against Yadah.
The Chibuku Super Cup has been known for its many surprises since 2014. This year all but one of the unseeded teams have booked their places in the last eight.
CAPS United, who missed the seeding because of a fixtures backlog, will headline the quarter-final draw which will be conducted on a date to be advised. The last eight matches have been lined up for the weekend on October 7-8. The other teams that have made it are Harare City who beat Highlanders 2-1, Shabanie Mine, Chapungu, Black Rhinos and How Mine who were the only successful side among the seeded teams after beating Bantu Rovers.
Makepekepe, who have been enjoying imperious form in the last two months, will entertain Chicken Inn in an evening kick-off at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow. The match has been slated for 7pm. The Harare giants also maintained their ticket prices at $3, $5 and $10.
Bulawayo City v Tsholotsho (Barbourfields), ZPC Kariba v Ngezi Platinum (Nyamhunga), Yadah v FC Platinum (Rufaro), How Mine v Triangle (Luveve), CAPS Utd v Chicken Inn (NSS, 7pm), Hwange v Black Rhinos (Colliery)
Shabanie Mine v Dynamos (Maglas), Harare City v Chapungu (Rufaro), Highlanders v Bantu Rovers (Barbourfields)