Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions Dynamos are looking beyond the injuries that have hit their camp and have painted a steady ship as they begin their title defence away to giant-slayers How Mine at Barbourfields this afternoon. The Glamour Boys have navigated past murky waters that rocked their boat last month and might have cost them a prolonged stay in the CAF Champions League where they fell 1-0 to AS Vita after an ill-advised industrial action by the players.
Record-breaking coach Kalisto Pasuwa has assembled a 35-man squad that should send a chill down the spine of their rivals. But all the hype occasioned by the arrival of quality players headlined by the diminutive Ronald “RC7” Chitiyo descended as forgotten boardroom squabbles threatened to return to the country’s most popular and successful club. To his credit, chairman Kenny Mubaiwa has managed to calm the winds and lay a firm foundation for yet another promising season.
With three league crowns on the trot and several knock-out cups, Mubaiwa is among the most successful Dynamos chairmen and has matched the PSL record set by the late Highlanders boss James Mangwana-Tshuma who won three consecutive championships at the turn of the millennium.
Mangwana-Tshuma made the best of the foundation laid by Roger Muhlwa who had led Tshilamoya to the crown in 1999 resulting in a four-year dominance.
Pasuwa last week told journalists that a tranquil environment will be a key ingredient to his charges defending the league.
“In everything that we do, even though we fall short sometimes, the target is to win. But for this to happen, everybody in the Dynamos family should do their utmost best and everything should be in place for the players to do their bit on the field,” he said.
The slow-starting champions are not expecting an easy ride and know Philani “Beefy” Ncube’s charges inspired by the lively Kuda Musharu will be tricky customers.
“We are playing a very experienced side which has no fitness worries synonymous with the beginning of the season because they have been participating in CAF just like us. It’s going to be a big fight and the better team of the day will start the marathon on a positive note,” reckoned Pasuwa.
The goldminers, emerging from a praiseworthy run in their debut CAF Confederation Cup, last season threatened DeMbare’s march to league honours with a famous 1-0 win at Luveve in week 16, atoning for the 3-0 drubbing they had suffered in week 15 at Rufaro.
Chikurupati then added salt to injury when they bundled the champions out of the mega-bucks Mbada Diamonds Cup with another 1-0 win at Rufaro.
With this in mind, Ncube says they will not give Dynamos special treatment and promised to battle for nothing short of victory.
“Dynamos are a good side but we won’t be giving them any special treatment. I have heard people talk about our victory over them here in Bulawayo, but for us its history and we will be treating this as a new game otherwise we might regret.
“We have made some important and experienced additions to our squad and we hope this will play to our advantage because there really is no substitute for experience and I am happy we have it,” Ncube said.
Unlike DeMbare, Chikurupati has no goal-scoring worries despite losing the muscular Simba Sithole to Ajax Cape Town of South Africa as new boy Musharu, formerly with Monomotapa is in red hot form.
Dynamos will hope exciting midfielder Chitiyo continues with his fine form and pray Washington Pakamisa begins the season just as he did last time when he co-led the goal-scoring chats with six strikes after nine rounds of fixtures.
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