The Sunday Mail
THERE seems to be a good vibe, football-wise, in Mashonaland West province.
A week after Chegutu Pirates ended their four-decade wait to secure promotion into the Premier Soccer League through a famous 2-1 win over Herentals U-20 at Pfupajena Stadium, their neighbours Ngezi Platinum Stars are seeking a rare league and cup double.
Should Ngezi triumph today, it would be first time that a top-flight side has won both the Premiership title and the Chibuku Super Cup.
Ngezi were crowned league champions at Barbourfields Stadium last weekend.
Today, they face Dynamos in a high-stakes Chibuku Super Cup final at Baobab Stadium.
The Harare giants are seeking to atone for their failure to land the league championship.
A carnival atmosphere is expected in Mhondoro-Ngezi as thousands of DeMbare fans look set to descend on the venue in anticipation of a famous victory for the club.
Dynamos are yet to win the Chibuku Super Cup since the tournament’s inception in 2014.
This is their second appearance in the final after their 1-2 loss to Harare City at the National Sports Stadium in 2015.
Ngezi are targeting their second sip of the Chibuku Super, having won the competition in their debut season in 2016.
They were also losing finalists in 2019 and 2021.
But, with a chance to make history, there is an added incentive for Ngezi to overcome Dynamos in front of most of their supporters, who could not watch their league championship coronation at Barbourfields.
Dynamos have not won any silverware since the era of trailblazing coach Kalisto Pasuwa, who left them in 2014.
DeMbare finished third for the second successive season following a shock 2-1 defeat by Yadah on the final day of the league programme.
That defeat to relegation-threatened Yadah did not go down well with most Dynamos fans, who are now demanding success in the Chibuku Super Cup as some measure of redemption.
So, it boils down to who wants this year’s Chibuku Super Cup more.
“We really want to lift this trophy,” Dynamos coach Genesis Mangombe said.
Mangombe and Ngezi coach Takesure Chiragwi sat on the same table during the Soccer Stars of the Year banquet on Friday night, cracked jokes and teased each other all night.
But there is neither time nor room for jokes this afternoon.
It’s back to serious business for both coaches.
“We are winding off the season and we want end on a high note,” said Mangombe.
Mangombe made his name at Yadah last season before joining Dynamos as Herbert Maruwa’s assistant at the beginning the 2023 season.
He took over from Maruwa in August and is now 90 minutes away from winning his first major silverware.
“I am from a humble background. I come from Chipinge and it’s not easy to come from that part of the country and coach Dynamos,” he said.
“At times you think you are dreaming but at the end of the day, it’s due to hard work. I always try to work very hard every day to improve myself.” He salutes Dynamos for giving him a big stage to shine.
“Coaching Dynamos is a very big achievement. Being at Dynamos helped me also to be appointed as Warriors assistant coach.
“Of course, I made a name while I was still at Yadah, where I would do a lot of experiments, but DeMbare is a different cup of coffee.
“We played against Yadah last week and we lost, which was not good at all. But it happens in football,” added Mangombe.
“But my boys now need to prove that Dynamos are still a big team by winning the Chibuku Super Cup.
“This game is very important for the club. We want to appease our fans and send a message to them that we can do it. But it’s not going to be easy. Ngezi have the advantage of playing at home, so we will demand character from the boys.”
Chiragwi has little time to celebrate his crowning moment as the Premiership’s Coach of the Year.
He wants to put the icing on the cake with victory today.
“We hope we finish on a high note, but it’s not going to be easy against Dynamos,” said Chiragwi.
“We are also playing in front of our fans and it would be nice to make them happy.”
Ngezi have a solid team that can upset DeMbare.
Skipper and newly crowned Soccer Star of the Year Qadr Amini, Golden Boot winner Takunda Benhura and goalkeeper and Soccer Star finalist Nelson Chadya are some of their key players.
DeMbare are banking on their midfield trio of Soccer Star of the Year runner-up Donald Mudadi, finalist Tanaka Shandirwa and the hard-working Junior Makunike.
Rising forward Elton Chikona — voted the Most Promising Player of the Year — could also swing the pendulum in Dynamos’ favour.