The Sunday Mail
THE next two weeks will be crucial for Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya.
The 2021/2022 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title race could be decided within this period, and if Dynamos continue to stutter, then FC Platinum will triumph.
Those privy to developments at Dynamos say Ndiraya’s contract, which expires on December 31, clearly states that he has to win the league title if he is to be retained at the country’s biggest football club.
However, it is as good as over for DeMbare, who find themselves 11 points behind log leaders FC Platinum, with six matches to go.
There is no doubt the coach has done remarkably well in transforming Dynamos, who fought relegation in 2018 before finishing ninth in 2019, when he took charge of 30 league games.
However, in his first full season in charge, he has managed to turn DeMbare into a team capable of challenging for honours.
But given the massive recruitment that was recently backed financially by energy giant Sakunda Holdings, some would judge his season as a disappointment.
Sometimes trying is not good enough at Dynamos, whose fans believe their team has a right to win every league title race.
And Ndiraya looks like someone who is crumbling under pressure.
Since Dynamos’ exit from the Chibuku Super Cup at the hands of FC Platinum two weeks ago, he has been avoiding the spotlight.
The usual Thursday interactions with the media have suddenly been stopped.
There are some who believe Ndiraya’s seven-day suspension in May was the reason behind DeMbare’s slump, while others feel the coach has peaked and cannot, therefore, take the team to the next level.
He has spent over US$140 000 on the transfer market since September, when Sakunda Holdings came on board.
Initially, the company provided US$60 000 for signing-on fees.
As the Glamour Boys brace for the match against Manica Diamonds at Sakubva Stadium this afternoon, there is a lot of speculation surrounding Ndiraya’s fate at the club.
Insiders say the Dynamos executive members, save for chairperson Isaiah Mupfurutsa, are already preparing for life after Ndiraya.
DeMbare have played 58 league matches since he took over from Lloyd “MaBlanyo” Chigowe in April 2019.
They have registered 22 wins, 25 draws and 11 losses.
Ndiraya has managed 91 points out of 174, translating to a 52 percent success rate.
Under the young gaffer, DeMbare have scored 55 goals in 58 league matches, at a rate of 0.95 goals per game.
Mupfurutsa thinks Ndiraya has done “very well”.
“He (Ndiraya) is in his first full season in charge of the team, but look at where he is at the moment. He has proven that if given enough time, he can transform the team,” he said.
The Dynamos chairperson, who reportedly has a close relationship with the coach, wants Ndiraya to be given more time to build the team.
But it seems Ndiraya is a dead man walking.
“They (executive members) are just waiting for his contract to expire; they do not want to incur costs by firing Ndiraya before the expiry of the contract,” said a source.
So unattractive have Dynamos become that they could only lure just over 1 000 paying fans in their 1-0 loss against Ngezi Platinum Stars at the National Sports Stadium last weekend.
Ndiraya has been on record emphasising the importance of results over style.
To his credit, he has built a team that is rock-solid at the back.
Under Ndiraya, Dynamos have conceded 37 times in 58 matches, a mean rate of 0.6 goals per match.
Today, he squares up against an equally troubled Manica Diamonds coach Johanisi Nhumwa. The “Gem Boys” have lost their last three consecutive games.
They started the season on fire and, at some point, led the log standings.
But Manica Diamonds are now ninth on the log with 39 points, 22 behind log leaders FC Platinum.
A top-four finish could actually prove difficult for Manica Diamonds, who, just like Dynamos, might be also preparing for life after Nhumwa.