Eddie Chikamhi in HARARE and Mukudzei Chingwere in GWERU
GIANTS Dynamos saw a ray of light when they bagged maximum points in Biggie Zuze’s first assignment as interim coach, but a sterner test awaits them when they host defending champions FC Platinum at Rufaro this Sunday. DeMbare beat Bulawayo City 1-0 at Barbourfields in their last match to ease the pressure after they rose from the bottom half of the table into eighth position.
But the platinum miners have been a thorn in the flesh of the Glamour Boys in the past three seasons.
Although overall head-to-head records place the teams at par, FC Platinum come to Harare on the back of five straight wins over the hosts. The reigning champions have been so dominant that they have conceded twice since the 3-1 win at Mandava swayed the tables in their favour in September 2015.
In 14 meetings, the statistics are evenly distributed with each team having won six and drawn two.
But Dynamos are looking for relief and Zuze will be back in the spotlight after leading the giants to victory in Bulawayo where some excited DeMbare fans chanted his name.
DeMbare are still below par after 11 games.
They have amassed 12 points, less than half of FC Platinum’s tally of 26. Norman Mapeza’s men are coming from a disappointing goalless home draw against resurgent Triangle.
Meanwhile, unheralded Chicken Inn goalkeeper, Pride Zendera, appears to have grabbed the opportunity presented by the impending departure of Elvis Chipezeze for South Africa with both hands.
Zendera, who has lived in Chipezeze’s shadow for four years, justified the claim by the Gamecocks’ gaffer Joey ‘Mafero’ Antipas’ that he has found the replacement for the reigning Goalkeeper of the Year.
The 26-year-old was given the nod in the absence of suspended Chipezeze and managed to keep a clean sheet with some a fine performance against a Chapungu attack that created a number of goalscoring opportunities at the weekend.
Antipas is set to lose his number one goalkeeper mid-season, but fears that they might struggle without the Goalkeeper of the Year have since been allayed.
“It is good for Elvis that he will now be playing in the South African league where he has a chance to advance his career.
“But for us, I have never lost any sleep over his departure, we have two very good goalkeepers Elvis and Pride, and it is good that Pride did very well against Chapungu,” said Antipas.
Chipezeze praised Zendera.
“Pride is a very good goalkeeper and I have no doubt he is one of the best goalkeepers in the country and will do the job very well.
“To be honest, it is difficult to say where exactly I am better than him, the way we train I just see us having the same strengths and if people are saying I am a good goalkeeper then definitely he is also a good goalkeeper.
“He has a bright future in the game and he just needs to keep on working hard and strive for the best,” said Chipezeze.
The Gamecocks will host Harare City at Luveve in their next match this Saturday.
Nichrut v Bulawayo Chiefs (Ascot), Chicken Inn v Harare City (Luveve), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Bulawayo City (Baobab), ZPC Kariba v Yadah (Nyamhunga)
Highlanders v CAPS United (Barbourfields), Shabanie Mine v Chapungu (Maglas), Dynamos v FC Platinum (Rufaro), Triangle United v Black Rhinos (Gibbo), Mutare City Rovers v Herentals (Vengere).