DYNAMOS Football Club returned home on Wednesday knowing that their remarkable 2-1 win over Asec Mimosas in Abidjan on Saturday was a rare dose of good news for Zimbabwean football.
The national side has all but failed to qualify for the highly-anticipated 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the African Nations Cup in Angola in the same year, and the Zimbabwean champions themselves had suffered three defeats in a row in Africaâ€™s premier club competition prior to the win in Cote dâ€™Ivoire.
The result brings them back into contention for a semi-final ticket in the CAR African Champions League. The Glamour Boys now need to beat Egyptians Zamalek on Sunday at Rufaro Stadium in Harare to be assured of a semi-final place which had looked remote in the last few weeks.
They can still slip through with a draw, but with all sorts of conspiracy theories being levelled against the Confederation of African Football regarding the unfair last-round fixtures arrangements, Dembare would do themselves a great favour if they went for an outright victory.
The result in Abidjan could be void if they donâ€™t follow up with a good result this weekend.
The team arrived to a heroes welcome at the Harare international airport on Wednesday
The team was in a sedate mood, whether this was a positive attitude or lack of confidence ahead of the all-important assignment on Sunday remains to be seen.
After all in their last match in this campaign at Rufaro Stadium, also against Egyptian opposition in the form of the might Al Ahly, Dembare put up such a lacklustre performance that they had virtually been ruled out of the competition.
Yesterday Dynamos coach David Mandigora told IndependentSport that his team must handle the pressure of playing in front of their home crowd if they are to get a result.
“We have always played well away, itâ€™s just that weâ€™ve not been getting results,” Mandigora said.
“We have not done well at home especially in that Al Ahly game because of pressure from our supporters. Sometimes when you want to play a passing game they (the fans) demand that you to pump the ball forward. Our fans can be so impatient. But we canâ€™t afford that on Sunday. We are working hard to contain the pressure better.”
On Saturday in Abidjan Dynamos showed they can learn from mistakes by defending with discipline and throwing men upfront when on the attack.
They got their two goals through former Chapungu hitman Philip Marufu, who volleyed the opener after Asec had been gifted the equaliser by goalkeeper Willard Manyaterera.
He then grabbed a dramatic last-minute winner, capitalising on a defensive mistake to fire home.
By Enock Muchinjo