The man who could decide The Battle of Zimbabwe
DYNAMOS goalkeeper Taimon Mvula is disappointed and motivated.
Clearly one of the best performers in the Castle Lager Premiership football this season with nine clean sheets in 14 games, Mvula has conceded in two consecutive fixtures for the first time this term.
He was breached in DeMbare’s 2-1 victory over Whawha a fortnight ago before also conceding, in the dying stages of his team’s 1-1 draw at home to log anchors Bulawayo City last weekend.
And it is something that is eating the heart of the former Hwange goalkeeper ahead of the Battle of Zimbabwe showdown against Highlanders at Barbourfields on Sunday.
He has both good and bad memories at this venue against the Bulawayo giants since his days at Hwange.
Mvula conceded what turned out to be the winner for Bosso when the giants clashed in the Presidential Independence Cup final last month.
“As a goalkeeper, I certainly and naturally hate letting in goals. I am not saying I cannot concede but my job is to stop the opposition from scoring,” said Mvula.
“I believe I am enjoying one of my highest points in my footballing career right now. But look, I have been breached twice in succession probably for the first time this season. It is something very disappointing for me as a goalkeeper.
“Both goals I conceded against Whawha and Bulawayo City were avoidable but that’s what football is like sometimes.”
Mvula, who is arguably the best goalkeeper in Zimbabwe right now having shipped in just six goals in over a dozen matches, should be at his best on Sunday if the Glamour Boys are to claim a full set of points against Bosso.
He is the only permanent fixture in coach Tonderai Ndiraya’s defence which has been rotated often this season.
The lanky shot-stopper, who has kept goal for the Warriors once, also has sweet memories in the league at Barbourfields.
He was the hero in his former team’s (Hwange) goalless stalemate at the iconic venue in 2019.
It was a match Bosso could have wrapped easily given the lion’s share of possession they enjoyed and the number of scoring chances they created.
But the home side found the Victoria Falls-bred goalie in defiant mood, literally keeping them away single-handedly.
He had also shut them out in another goalless draw in the reverse fixture at the Colliery.
And the 28-year-old is hoping to carry the same level of energy into Sunday’s tie.
“Look, it’s now totally different. This is the biggest fixture on land and everyone should come to the party. But for me personally, I am deriving confidence from my own record against Bosso in the league.
“We were so bad in 2019 as Hwange but we somehow kept Bosso away in both fixtures in the league.
“I am hoping to raise the game again on Sunday but generally, everyone in the team should raise the ante.
“We have very bad memories as Dynamos ahead of this tie. Less than a month ago, it was Highlanders who were celebrating after we lost in the Presidential Independence Cup final on April 18.
“We are still pained as a team and all the players are motivated by the need to revenge the loss.
“I cannot say I am not going to concede but that’s the aim and it all depends with everyone in the field of play.”
Mvula has saluted Ndiraya for bringing on board some of the best goalkeepers in the country at Dynamos as he believes their availability has spurred him to put in more work.
The former Herentals duo of Prince Tafiremutsa and Frank Kuchinei, who were among the transfer targets of virtually all Harare-based teams, are keeping Mvula on his toes.
“One thing that I can tell you is that, Tafiremutsa and Kuchinei are top, top goalkeepers who can be entrusted with duties at DeMbare any day.
“Their qualities are beyond any doubt and I should admit they are keeping me up there.
“You know you really have to work hard every day at training and in matches to stand a chance of playing often. The balance in the department is awesome.”
Dynamos’ performance on Sunday will depend not only on Mvula but the entire team effort but there is no doubt, the keeper, who has been one of their strongest points this season, will be key.
DeMbare lead the standings with 30 points to their name, two above second-placed Chicken Inn while Bosso are deep in mid-table on ninth place with just 16 points.