David “Yogi” Mandigora

David “Yogi” Mandigora

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Makomborero Mutimukulu – Sports Editor

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COMPOSURE is one of David “Yogi” Mandigora’s biggest assets.

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And he needs more of it now more than ever.

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Dynamos have lost their last two matches — 0-3 to Chicken Inn and 0-1 away to WhaWha — and will this afternoon face FC Platinum seeking to avoid a hat-trick of defeats.

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It might be unwritten but there is a rule that DeMbare don’t lose three on the bounce. It’s an abomination, those who believe the champions have Zimbabwean football’s diplomatic passport will tell you.

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Mandigora, despite public backing from club boss Kenny Mubaiwa, knows he is in the pressure cooker.

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But he knows the terrain pretty well too, having been the Dynamos coach in another life.

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One song reminds Mandigora of how nasty the Dynamos fans can get when things don’t get going.

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“Mandigora usaite fun, fun nevanhu (Mandigora stop taking people for granted),” goes a line from the song that was the soundtrack on the day the gaffer “nearly died” inside Rufaro.

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On the last day of the 2006 season, Mandigora’s Dynamos outfit was outplayed by a Shooting Stars side that had scored thrice without reply, by the time the DeMbare fans decided to cut the drama on 61 minutes.

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An enraged blue army went riot, vandalising the stadium and throwing a barrage of missiles onto the pitch.

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A shaken Mandigora sought refuge in the dressing room. For two hours he was stuck there while irate fans waited outside and bayed for his blood.

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As that drama unfolded, the then Shooting Stars coach Gishon Ntini passed through Yogi’s hideout and in a sentence broke down the pair’s relationship — for good.

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Mandigora tells close friends that the last thing he expected from Ntini was a statement that would make his situation more uncomfortable.

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Well, with Ntini being Ntini, nothing can be taken for granted.

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“Haa mudhara mafa (You are dead old man),” the journeyman gaffer reportedly told his under ire colleague before whistling as he walked nonchalantly away, hand in pocket.

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Mandigora lived to tell the tale after being whisked away by switched-on police details.

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Despite going on to win the league the following season and leading the club to the semi-finals of the Caf Champions League, Mandigora never really warmed the hearts of the Dynamos faithful.

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His appointment as Kallisto Pasuwa’s replacement at the beginning of this season was greeted with pessimism but a solid start made anti-Mandigora talk misplaced.

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However, two defeats in five days have provided the fuel his critics have needed to feed their fire.

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The availability of Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa has also complicated matters.

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Now it is against this background that Mandigora has to psyche up his team for a battle against an opponent playing with the wind behind its sails after overcoming their own sticky situation.

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It will be interesting to see how the Dynamos gaffer lines up his men. There are signs Mandigora is tinkering with an approach that served him well during the first seven games of the season.

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After Chicken Inn came and mugged DeMbare last Sunday, Mandigora sought to add some steel away to Whawha.

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Milton Makopa came in to partner Steven Alimenda in a twin defensive midfield role.

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The move backfired as it made DeMbare rigid while giving Whawha, who had been molested 6-0 by How Mine in their last match, room to play.

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And when Lloyd Mutasa’s team is allowed to play the way Samaita believes football should be played, the opposition is in trouble.

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With their opponents under pressure and eager not to make mistakes, Norman Mapeza’s charges will also seek to pass their way to victory.

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But then again Dynamos will always be Dynamos.

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This team, whose supporters are numbered at a mythical and never changing seven million, is capable of doing anything when cornered.

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Dynamos versus FC Platinum at Rufaro — it’s a good one by any measure!

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Today’s fixtures

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Dynamos v FC Platinum (Rufaro), Highlanders v Harare City (BF), Hwange v Flame Lily (Colliery), Triangle v WhaWha (Gibbo), Buffaloes v Caps United (Sakubva)