COMBINED, their brilliance was in vain. Spraying passes with aplomb as they did, Zimbabwe still lost 1-2 to Angola in the Cosafa Castle Cup semi-final
Barring unforeseen hitches, this time round Ronald Sibanda will be pitting his shimmies against Francis Chandida’s dummies.
They paired well for a national cause, but just a week later they have turned against each other — on the field that is.
Both are great passers of the ball and good dictators of the game, making the midfield duel between the two Warriors midfielders possibly decisive in the premiership clash between Dynamos and Buymore at Rufaro on Sunday.
It’s indeed a mystery the two players have failed to move to better leagues abroad.
But their similarities seem to end there.
The 30-year-old Sibanda tends to fizzle out quickly, while Chandida — three years younger — appears to have the muscle to last the whole game. They did show something about their endurance last Sunday.
Chandida, who scored Zimbabwe’s face-saver against Angola, looks more dangerous in front of goal especially on dead-ball situations. Sibanda hasn’t really looked interested in venturing upfront, limiting his genius to searching and delicate passes to his forwards.
However, should Sibanda and Chandida both rediscover the form that made them household names in local football, then the midfield stars might just add the spark that was lacking in the last round of their club’s premiership matches.
Dynamos were frustrated to a goal-less draw at home to Masvingo United, while Buymore were grateful for a similar result away to Lancashire Steel.
But this weekend, Buymore know full well a draw will not be good enough as they battle to avoid relegation.
On the other hand, Dynamos are aware nothing less than maximum points will appease the faithful who have endured the club’s nine-year barren spell.
But the match will be more than the duel between Sibanda and Chandida.
Dynamos coach David Mandigora will be eager to prove to his many critics that it’s his shrewdness that has been behind the club’s revival. Of course there are many who believe the multitudes that follow the club have made the difference.
A week after failing to inspire Zimbabwe to victory in his capacity as co-stand-in coach, Mandigora will be hard-pressed to prove the Warriors’ failure had little to do with his technical shortcomings.
Buymore coach Joey Antipas too has a thing to prove to his employers, if not his old paymaster Eric Rosen as well.
His brief should be to save Buymore from relegation and convince the club’s new owners, Caps Holdings, that they will have to spare him in the major reshuffle and rebuilding exercise they have promised next season — provided they survive.
Antipas of course knows he will have to wave the magic wand considering the players at his disposal.
While Buymore players Gift Muzadzi, Nyasha Chazika and Chandida have been stars at Dynamos before, they know too well that might count little in Sunday’s game.
Dynamos have changed almost entirely their line-up since their reverse fixture, a 0-0 draw during which Evans Gwekwerere, now in South Africa, was injured in a clash with Muzadzi.
If anything, it’s likely to be former Buymore star Ramson Zhuwawo who might carry the day for Dynamos.
Tomorrow: Monomotapa v Shabanie Mine (Gwanzura), Shooting Stars v Highlanders (Rufaro), Caps United v Mwana Africa (NSS).
Sunday: Zimbabwe Saints v Lancashire Steel (Barbourfields), Buymore v Dynamos (Rufaro), Black Rhinos v Hwange (Gwanzura), Motor Action v Chapungu (Callies), Masvingo United v Railstars (Mucheke).