Paul Mundandi in BULAWAYO and Eddie Chikamhi in HARARE
DYNAMOS coach Tonderayi Ndiraya has urged the Glamour Boys to keep believing that they can defy the odds once again and become the first club to win five straight league titles. Ndiraya and his men refused to be blown out of the race, in a make-or-break encounter, as they beat leaders Chicken Inn at Barbourfields on Sunday.
If DeMbare had lost that game, they would have effectively bowed out of the race given that their opponents would have stretched their lead over them by 10 points with just six games to go.
But an early goal by Rodreck Mutuma gave Dynamos the victory that blew winds into their sail and moved them within four points of Joey Antipas’ men. It was the first win for DeMbare, over Chicken Inn, in the City of Kings since 2012.
Ndiraya believes their supporters will play a crucial role, in the remaining matches and wants everyone to believe that they can win the championship again.
“We want everyone in the Dynamos family to keep believing like we are doing. We are believing, together with the team and we want everyone, especially the fans, to keep believing,” said Ndiraya.
“Keep on supporting the guys and we will get there. Our win was good for the team, we managed to reduce the gap to four points. We are, however, not going to sleep on duty.
“We will keep fighting and we hope that Chicken Inn will drop some points at some stage.
“The work has just started and I believe there is still a lot of work to do. We will see where we are going to be at the end of the day. The win was very good for the team.”
Chicken Inn skipper Danny “Deco” Phiri and veteran midfielder Clement Matawu tried all they could to inspire the Gamecocks back into the game, but the Dynamos defence stood resolute.
Goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva also made some brilliant saves.
Ndiraya has been viewed with suspicion by some sections of Dynamos supporters.
Antipas says he knew their campaign was going to suffer some setbacks along the way and is confident that his charges will rise from the disappointment of losing to title rivals Dynamos at the weekend.
“There is no way I can shoulder the blame on my players for the loss because they gave everything. It was unfortunate that they came short, but we still believe,” said Antipas.
Antipas is hoping to lead his charges all the way to the finishing line, a feat he achieved in 2010 with Motor Action when they claimed the title on goal difference ahead of Dynamos.
The former Warriors coach said they will not allow Sunday’s defeat to ruin their campaign. The Gamecocks are sitting on 49 points while Dynamos and FC Platinum are tied on 45 points with six games remaining in the season.
“It’s definitely a three-horse race. We should know that leagues are not won with six or seven games to go. So we understand it’s game on.
“It’s unfortunate that every team that we play now wants to get something out of us as the log leaders and obviously that is a huge challenge.
“But that’s what makes football the most beautiful game. We have to take it in our stride and try to go for the title. We knew from the start that it was going to be a tight race,” said Antipas. Dark horses FC Platinum had the best chance on Saturday to pile the pressure on the Gamecocks, but they could only manage a draw away at lowly Tsholotsho in a goalless match.
However, FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza believes a point was good for them as it kept them in the chase.
The platinum miners are enjoying rich form having now gone 15 games without defeat.
“We drew, but to me it was a point gained more than anything else because we had played two games away. We knew it was not going to be easy.
“We are not blaming ourselves because of that. The good thing is that we won the other match away at How Mine.
“What is important now is to try and remain focused on our game. We don’t have to worry ourselves with what happens on the other side of the town. We just know that we have to play our game and try to collect as many points as we can in the remaining games,” said Mapeza.
It looks the season’s early pace-setters Triangle are out of the running for this year’s crown after they dropped points again in the 0-0 draw away to Harare City.
Kelvin Kaindu’s men remained fourth on the log standings, but they now face a serious challenge from CAPS United for a Top Four finish.
Makepekepe registered an emphatic 3-1 win over traditional rivals Highlanders at the National Sports Stadium to move closer to their modest target. They are now fifth on the log standings with 37 points, just one point behind Triangle.
It appears the boardroom stability and the decision to rehire Lloyd Chitembwe is now beginning to pay the dividends.
However, it appears things are falling apart at the Bulawayo giants. Bosso have a new technical team led by Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu and Amini-Soma Phiri who replaced Bongani Mafu recently but the changes has so far not breathed life into their campaign after losing two matches and winning one. Highlanders are in 10th position on the log standings with 28 points. At this point, the threat of relegation is out of question but they need to up their game.
Sunday Chidzambwa’s ZPC Kariba picked their second win on the bounce when they beat Flame Lily 1-0 at Rufaro to continue on the upward move in their battle to evade relegation. They now have 27 points in the bag, five clear of the drop zone and are 11th in the table.
There was no joy for the bottom four sides Flame Lily, Tsholotsho, Whawha and Dongo Sawmill as the newcomers again failed to win their matches.