Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
CHAMPIONS Dynamos are aware of the potential minefield that awaits them at Ascot when they go out in search of maximum points tomorrow against Chapungu. The Glamour Boys began their quest in defence of their title on a positive note when they thrashed a struggling Buffaloes outfit 3-0 at the National Sports Stadium last Saturday.
Expectations are high in the De- Mbare camp to get their campaign off to a good start.
However, team manager Richard Chihoro reckons that they have not met with much success in their recent clashes with Chapungu, especially in Gweru.
Chapungu collected four points from Dynamos last year after beating the Harare giants 1-0 at Ascot courtesy of Talent Mwale’s goal and then holding on to a 1-1 draw at Rufaro in the return leg.
Chihoro yesterday said the Gweru airmen were a formidable outfit at their home turf where they lost only once last year in a 2-3 defeat to relegated Bantu Rovers.
Dynamos last celebrated a win at Ascot back in 2008 when Desmond Maringwa gave them a 1-0 victory with Benjamin Marere getting another lone goal in the reverse leg to help condemn the side to relegation.
“Gweru has always been one of the difficult places to visit. I don’t remember when we last won a league match there but this time I think we are much more prepared.
“We are aiming for nothing short of victory,” said Chihoro.
DeMbare are looking to build on the momentum from their first game against Buffaloes.
The Harare giants, however, might have to do without their captain Augustine Mbara, who is on trial at Bidvest Wits in South Africa together with former Dynamos teammate Devon Chafa, now at How Mine.
Chihoro said they have replacements for Mbara as they have Elisha Muroiwa and Nigel Gandari, who can also fit in perfectly in the heart of defence with Sydney Linyama.
“They have been communicating with the secretary-general (Webster Chikengezha) and we are hoping that he (Mbara) will arrive tomorrow night (tonight).
“But if it doesn’t happen that way then we may have to settle for another player in his place. We have many defenders in our team, and that is enough cover for us,” said Chihoro.
Chapungu have assembled a strong side, which includes former Dynamos players Phillip Marufu and Tinei Chitora.
Coach John Nyikadzino has many options with such players as Tafadzwa Mombeshora, Gift Phiri, ex-CAPS United centre-back Blessing Zabula and former Shabanie Mine defender William Ngonya.
They started on a promising note after holding Luke Masomere’s star-studded How Mine to a goalless draw away at Luveve.
Nyikadzino and his men will be hoping to re-ignite their home form from last season.
While Dynamos will be on the road, their rivals CAPS United will be at home against FC Platinum at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Makepekepe got off the mark with a 2-1 win over newboys Whawha last week, thanks to Rodreck Mutuma’s brace. Their coach, Mark Harrison, however, believes FC Platinum are different opposition.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game, we know what FC Platinum are like, we know what they are about — they are battle-hardened now.
“They have had three Confederation Cup games and a league game as well.
“So we are expecting a tough encounter, that’s for sure. I think they are one of the better teams in the league.
“There is a lot of expectations and obviously they would want to live up to those expectations, you know what it is like to come to the National Sports Stadium and play CAPS United.
“They will take their game to top level so we need to be at 100 percent to give ourselves a chance,” said Harrison.