‘El clasico’ at Rufaro

AS monumental as the Asigate scandal is, it has failed to steal the thunder from this weekend’s titanic league clash between perennial rivals Dynamos and Highlanders at Rufaro stadium.

Report by Kevin Mapasure

BancABC, sponsors of the two title rivals have added another sweetener by dangling a winner-take-all US$15 000 to the contest for what could be the most crucial three points of this Castle Lager Premier League season.

As further motivation, the sponsors have promised US$3 000 to each team for every goal scored and US$1 500 for man -of-the match.

For Bosso players who engaged in industrial action last week pressing for bonus payments, the carrot will raise spirits.

If Dynamos win this match the sweet scent of another premiership title would become that much stronger, while for Bosso defeat is simply not an option.

Silverware quest
Highlanders’ trophy cabinet has not been replenished for a while now and a win on Sunday will ensure Bosso retain hope for glory.

As the two gaffers Kalisto Pasuwa at Dynamos and Kelvin Kaindu for Highlanders prepared their tactical plans for battle this week they were aware there was very little room for error.

Bosso lost to Monomotapa in the Mbada Diamonds Cup last weekend, squandering a chance for silverware and they will have to triumph on Sunday if they are to retain hopes of finishing an otherwise impressive season with tangible reward.

Bosso have however since lost the aura of invincibility after losing twice to Monomotapa but they certainly have not lost their winning mentality, trailing Dynamos by a mere two points.

Mukamba factor
Sunday’s match has many interesting sub-plots. Mthulisi Maphosa who operates at the base of Bosso’s midfield will have to try and shackle irresistible Denver Mukamba.

Mukamba drives Dynamos while Maphosa is the fulcrum of Bosso’s engine room and stability.

Mukamba has since formed a dangerous attacking triumvirate with Simba Sithole and Farai Mpasiri who both play ahead of him.
The Pasuwa and Kaindu tactical battle could also provide intrigue as their first clash ended in a stalemate.

For Pasuwa, when fluency and finesse eludes his charges he manages to tap into the team’s reservoir of fortitude to get the desired result.

Faced with defeat at Barbourfields in the first match goalkeeper George Chigova saved a penalty to help clinch a valuable point. This time the stakes are even higher with just five league matches left, but Pasuwa believes Sunday’s match is not necessarily the title decider.

“This is just another match; the importance is that if we win we take some pressure off going into the last four matches,” said Pasuwa. “We always play positively and we will do the same on Sunday.”

Bosso reinvention
Like Pasuwa, Kaindu believes after the match the league title will still be up for grabs.

“I know a lot has been said about this match and the title, but for us it’s just another match,” said Kaindu. “Whatever the outcome the race will still be open because there would be 12 points to play for. We expect it to be tough as we are playing away from home, but we will go out there to do our best.”

Kaindu has reinvented a mediocre Bosso side into a force whose success is lynch-pinned on a brand of football that most premiership teams have failed to live with. He has hauled them from last season’s doldrums to championship contention.

The young coach is an advocate of teamwork which is why it is difficult to pin point his chief destroyers, even though Masimba Mambare is prominent and Dynamos will have to watch out for him. Peter Moyo began the season on fire, impressively linking defence and attack but has since fizzled out.

Given the magnitude of this match, it’s easy to forget that there are seven other league matches on this weekend.

Fixtures
Saturday; Monomotapa v Black Mambas, Rufaro , Quelaton v Harare City, Luveve, Blue Rangers v Motor Action,Gwanzura Stadium, FC Platinum v Chicken Inn, Mandava
Sunday; Hardbody v Shabanie Mine,Ascot, Dynamos v Highlanders, Rufaro, Buffaloes v Hwange, Sakubva and CAPS United v Gunners, Gwanzura.