FOUR-STAR DEMBARE

Lovemore Zigara in GWERU—
Chapungu. . . . 0
Dynamos . . .(0) 4
(Game abandoned after 58 minutes)
IT took just eight minutes for a resurgent Dynamos to break a Chapungu defensive fortress which had not conceded a goal in 632 minutes and, but for a freak incident at Ascot yesterday, this Castle Lager Premiership contest could have had a rugby scoreline in favour of the Glamour Boys. Instead, it ended prematurely just before the hour mark, with the hosts down and out of the game having long been blown away by Lloyd Mutasa’s superb machine that had scored four goals when the match was abandoned. That’s seven goals for DeMbare in one-and-a-half hours of Premiership football in the past four days and, maybe, before we talk about the negativity of the collapsed goal that forced the abandonment of the game, let’s focus on the positives.

And they all have a blue and white colour.

When Emmanuel Mandiranga struck to push Dynamos into the lead in the eighth minute at Ascot yesterday, it was the first time Chapungu had conceded a league goal in just seven minutes short of 11 hours.

  • The first time the high-flying Gweru airmen had conceded a goal since April 29 this year when Dominic Chungwa scored, two minutes before time, in a 4-0 defeat at the hands of CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium.
  • The first time Chapungu had conceded a goal in eight league games having kept a clean sheet against Highlanders (0-0), Shabanie (0-0), Harare City (1-0), ZPC Kariba (0-0), Tsholotsho (2-0), Ngezi Platinum (0-0) and Bulawayo City (1-0).
  • Where Ngezi Platinum had failed to score, in their backyard, against Chapungu over 90 minutes last weekend, the marauding Glamour Boys had scored four times, in less than an hour, by the time this game was abandoned yesterday.
  • Where Highlanders had failed to score against these Gweru airmen, at Ascot recently, Dynamos found a way to hit them four, in less than an hour, and there could have been more if this match had not ended prematurely.

So what happens next?

Given it’s an issue neither side had control over, the game could be replayed, starting at the 58th minute with Dynamos leading 4-0.

And, not for the first time this season, Cameroonian import Christian Ep0upa stole the limelight again after a top drawer performance yesterday, but his efforts were overshadowed by the abandonment of the game when the goal collapsed.

The resurgent Glamour Boys looked set to stretch their winning run to five games with goals from Epoupa, Denver Mukamba and a brace from Mandiranga.

However, the football gods had other plans forcing journalists who attended the DeMbare massacre of Chapungu to change the script as the match’s abandonment in the 58th minute became the major talking point with the Harare giants leading 4 – 0.

The anti-climax of this match arrived when Dynamos’ Tichaona Chipunza, who had caught goalkeeper Talbert Shumba off guard, tried a speculative drive which had an awkward bounce just in front of the ‘keeper.

And, in his effort to clear his lines, the ‘keeper landed on the post as he retreated.

Shumba’s frame was too heavy for the goalpost resulting in it collapsing.

Efforts to fix the goalpost were in vain and after a one hour and 35 minutes of stoppage, match commissioner Israel Mugwagwa, in consultation with referee Martin Chivandire, called off the match.

“The match has been abandoned because council could not fix the goalpost. Even if they had fixed it a councillor who was here said they would need a council engineer to certify it safe for the players and he is not around,” said Mugwagwa.

“We had wanted the match to be played under flood lights but then again the lighting here does not meet minimum standards and the decision (on the fate of the match) now lies with the Premier Soccer League,” he added. The match had started 15 minutes late to allow supporters, who were still outside, to get into the stadium and as soon as the proceedings got underway DeMbare made their intentions clear.

After missing two chances, Dynamos found the opener in the eighth minute when Epoupa released an unmarked Mandiranga in the box who obliged with a volley which Shumba could not stop to send the predominantly DeMbare crowd into a frenzy.

However, Chapungu almost replied immediately when Maxwell Mavuto beat his marker before finding Collen Kwaramba in the box but he missed with the goal at his mercy. Epoupa was to haunt Chapungu again in the 21st minute when he gained possession in the middle of the park before playing the ball into space, finding an onrushing Mukamba who fired past Shumba to double DeMbare’s lead. Mandiranga completed his brace in the 32nd minute when he tucked in a Mukamba cross from inside the box.

Epoupa capped a fine afternoon with a goal five minutes after the breather when he beat a Chapungu offside trap to fire past a badly exposed Shumba who had not conceded a goal in the last seven games for Chapungu.