Ishemunyoro Chingwere Sports Reporter
FOR those who were not at Rufaro yesterday, this was all about Dynamos, the champions, against bottom-placed club Motor Action with the Glamour Boys, as expected, emerging victorious — even though they did it in very dramatic fashion. Substitute Sydney Linyama rose highest, on an afternoon when his aerial strength had given a lacklustre DeMbare an extra weapon in attack from set-pieces, and headed home the priceless goal in the very last minute of regulation time.
That’s the big story that will matter to those who were not at Rufaro – Linyama scoring, DeMbare winning and the Mighty Bulls losing once again.
But those who were at the stadium know that there was another beautiful story, written by a teenage footballer whose family has strong links to Dynamos and whose father was part of the band of Glamour Boys who marched all the way to the final of the Champions League in 1998.
Lloyd Mutasa entered the big stage of Premiership football at the age of 24 and went on to become a big DeMbare star.
Yesterday, he watched from the stands as his son played his third match in the Premiership, in the colours of Motor Action and in a league match against Dynamos, at the age of 18.
Wisdom Mutasa, just like his father, is a midfielder and, although he ended up on the losing side yesterday, he captured the imagination of many fans with his display.
The teenage Mutasa was the standout player in a midfield battle against established campaigners in Zimbabwe international Devon Chafa, Tawanda Muparati and Thomas Magorimbo.
Mutasa stood toe-to-toe with his more illustrious opponents and at times had the audacity to spray a few “no look” passes to stylish Ngonidzashe Maviri and tenaciously broke several Dynamos raids only for a foul on Tawanda Muparati in the 89th minute which resulted in Sydney Linyama’s goal to invite a black spot on his outing.
Mutasa also played an integral role making sure the Bulls maintained their shape in defence as Dynamos, chasing a third consecutive league crown, pressed the basement boys.
With the chop beckoning at the 2010 champions the Bulls turned to the revered Aces Youth Academy, scooping Mutasa and Walter Musona among other promising youngsters and the feeling among those that watched yesterday’s narrow loss was that “if only these youngsters had arrived much earlier”.
Talking to The Herald after yesterday’s match, Wisdom knew that his father’s name could not be avoided:
“I grew up in my father’s playing shadow and people are always quick to draw comparisons between us,” said Wisdom.
“His (Lloyd) achievements push me to work hard because naturally the target is to achieve more than him.
“He always dares me saying I will never get to his level but that is what pushes me because I want to better his standards.”
The former Churchill High School pupil reckons that after almost half a decade at the famed AYSA, which is credited for horning the skills of such stars as Knowledge Musona, Khama Billiat and Lincoln Zvasiya, he is now a better player.
“I spent four years at the academy and learnt a lot there so I think it was about time we took a step forward. It (playing in the Premiership) helps me gain confidence and improve my game because my future lies in football.
“My wish at Motor Action is that we continue fighting for survival and at the same time showcase our talents to bigger teams both locally and internationally.
“With some of my colleagues (from Aces) here as well we will help each other and hopefully make an impact because we already understand each other very well,” said Mutasa.
His father, now head coach at FC Platinum, who was part of the crowd at Rufaro and picked a lot of positives from the youngster’s performance.
“The young man is doing well and he has age on his side and I hope he keeps his foot on the ground.
‘Playing against teams like Dynamos and still maintaining your usual coolness at such a tender age is a big positive.
“I think he is developing well, I can see the confidence in him and his marking – a key requisite of the position he plays – is also coming up right unlike in the previous matches I have watched him,” said the senior Mutasa.
He also spoke of the comparisons and his personal challenge to his son.
“It’s just a way of pushing him forward so that he doesn’t rest on his laurels but breaking into the top flight league at 18years is a very big statement as compared to my case because I started at about 24.
“If he can manage to keep his cool he can do better than me. There are no particular targets for him now but just to continue working hard, getting game time and probably from next season we will start raising the bar,” he said.
Former Sporting Lions’ forward, Bothwell Mahlengwe, who was in the crowd, said the first task for the DeMbare leadership, after yesterday’s game, would be to pin the young Mutasa to a long-term deal.
Dynamos 1, Motor Action (Rufaro)
Black Mambas 1, Highlanders 0 Morris Depot)
Triangle 2, Black Rhinos 2 (Gibbo)
Shabanie Mine 2, Buffaloes 0 (Maglas)
Monomotapa 0, Hwange 3 (Rufaro)
Tripple B 0, Harare City 0 (Dulibadzimu)
FC Platinum 2, CAPS United 2 (Mandava)
Chicken Inn 1, H/Mine 2 (Luveve).