Gems’ unbeaten run versus DeMbare’s desperate fight

23 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Gems’ unbeaten run versus DeMbare’s desperate fight

The Sunday Mail

Langton Nyakwenda

LIKE the sun that rises from the east where Manica Diamonds football club is based, the team has been shining bright in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.

They have not lost in 11 league games, taking the crown with the longest unbeaten run so far this season.

The Gem Boys last tasted defeat on April 1, some 73 days ago.

With a points return of 29 out of a possible 33, Manica Diamonds are the most feared team in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.

Although their goal return has been a modest 1,27 per game in the last 11 games, their defence has been one of the toughest.

Marshalled by the rising pair of Tawanda Chisi and Thubelihle Jubani, Manica Diamonds’ rear-guard has conceded just three times in 11 games.

And Dynamos should be scared when they walk into Sakubva Stadium this afternoon in what promises to be another decisive match for DeMbare coach Genesis “Kaka” Mangombe. The two sides meet for the seventh time in the league, with pressure on both coaches, albeit at different levels.

Manica Diamonds’ veteran gaffer Jairos Tapera is out to maintain his unbeaten run, while Mangombe is eager to turn the tide for Dynamos, who have one win in their last seven outings.

A massive 10 points separate the two sides going into Round 16 of the 2024 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season.

“It (unbeaten run) has two sides to it,” said Tapera.

“On one hand, it can motivate you to keep doing well because you want to maintain it. On the other hand, it gives you pressure. But as coaches, we are happy with what we are doing and we are ready for whatever is coming our way.

“We are very much ready for Dynamos and I am sure we will keep doing what we have been doing.”

For a team that only managed one point in their opening four games, this has been a massive turnaround for the Eastern Highlands-based side.

On the other hand, it has been a topsy-turvy journey for DeMbare, whose only four wins this season have come against promoted sides Bikita Minerals, Chegutu Pirates, TelOne and Arenel Movers.

The Harare giants enjoy a better head-to-head record against the Gem Boys.

In their six league meetings since 2019, Dynamos have two wins, Manica Diamonds have one, and the other three contests ended in stalemates.

Mangombe thinks his side will do well this afternoon.

“We are a team that has been improving,” said Mangombe, whose side has 20 points from 15 games. “It’s going to be a tough match, but usually when we are written off we rise.”

There are several players to watch out for in this clash.

Manica Diamonds striker Michael Tapera has been in fine form and was rewarded with a call-up to the Warriors, who are leaving for the Cosafa Cup in South Africa on Tuesday.

Roving left back Farai Banda is also in the squad. Dynamos can bank on Emmanuel Jalai’s industry on the right channel, while Donald Mudadi can be a pain to any defence.

Ghanaian Emmanuel Paga is DeMbare’s main source of hope for goals.

Fixtures

CAPS United v Chegutu Pirates (Rufaro), Manica Diamonds v Dynamos (Sakubva), Green Fuel v Yadah (Green Fuel), Highlanders v Hwange (Barbourfields)

Elsewhere, Highlanders host Hwange at Barbourfields Stadium, hoping to arrest a six-game winless streak that has seen the Bulawayo giants drop down the log.

Hwange are fresh from a morale-boosting 1-0 win against Green Fuel, which was only their second victory of the season.

It was a win that coach Rodwell Dhlakama believes can change the fortunes at lowly placed Chipangano.

CAPS United are seeking their first league win in five matches, as they clash against Chegutu Pirates at Rufaro Stadium, while Green Fuel host Yadah Stars at the Green Fuel Arena in Chisumbanje.

Makepekepe have drawn thrice and lost once in their last four outings and are now 10 points off the top spot.

Fixtures

CAPS United v Chegutu Pirates (Rufaro), Manica Diamonds v Dynamos (Sakubva), Green Fuel v Yadah (Green Fuel), Highlanders v Hwange (Barbourfields)

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