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PSL: No more Sunshine in Harare

NOBODY expected Dynamos to freewheel their way to the 2014 Castle Lager Premier League title this season even though many agreed they were favourites.

Kevin Mapasure

Equally, nobody would have predicted DeMbare losing three of their first six matches, more so with two of the defeats coming against newly promoted sides Chapungu and ZPC Kariba.

Dynamos lost only four matches in the entire 2013 season.

Certainly, none would have projected that Big Boy Mawiwi would be teetering precariously on the brink of becoming the season’s first coaching casualty at a time the season is still in its infancy.

Mawiwi, ironically reigning Coach of the Year, could be jobless less than 10 weeks into the new season. Harare City
have suffered six straight defeats, scoring just three goals in the process.

For the city’s clubs, the bright sunshine Harare is well known for has been replaced by dark ominous clouds.

ZPC Kariba, in temporary lodgings at Gwanzura stadium, is surprisingly the only team in Harare enjoying a purple patch.

The goings-on have the appearance of a wrong script; this shouldn’t be happening, many shell-shocked soccer fans could be saying.

Sadly, what is happening at Caps United might have been expected, what with the club choosing to ignore player welfare on its list of priorities, seemingly expecting players to be grateful and content for merely playing for the Green Machine despite trifling financial returns.

Makepekepe lost the spine of the team from last term as players sought greener pastures.

Rahman Kutsanzira’s sob story mirrors the pathetic situation at the four-time league champions last season and it’s a wonder coach Taurai Mangwiro managed to get something out of his demoralised squad.
Kutsanzira was reduced to a beggar as he sought bus fare to return home to Bulawayo after the season had ended.

Kutsanzira was back to haunt his former club in a big way last weekend with a top performance as Bosso launched an attack of demonic intensity, powered by a possessed Kutsanzira, to emerge 4-0 victors.

Kutsanzira resisted all persuasion to return to Caps before the season started and who can blame him?

Striker Tawanda Nyamandwe, defenders Tawanda Munyanduri, Arnold Chivheya and George Magariro all followed him out of caps as did midfielders David Rediyoni and Benson Maglasi. Without funds to rebuild, Caps has been left in tatters.

To the remnants of last year’s Caps side add a few freebies from relegated sides and a few who in all honesty should never pull on the Caps shirt, and Mangwiro is expected to work some magic.

Malawian import Ishmael Thindwa has shown a few flashes of brilliance and could develop into a genuine star, but that is just about for Caps.

Their defence is porous; the midfield lacks the creativity which Maglasi provided. The mid-season transfer window seems their best hope.

Harare City would have expected that after narrowly missing out on the championship only by goal difference last term they would launch another robust assault, this term to try and end Dynamos’ hegemony.

Yet after even more opulent spending by local standards in which the club will get close to US$2 million of council funds, things have turned for the unexpected worst.

Harare City pay the highest signing on fees, wages and winning bonuses pegged at US$500 per player.

While Silas Songani was influential and the heartbeat of the team, his departure alone does not explain a six-match losing streak.

It defies logic that a team that fell so narrowly short of winning the title last season and spent a busy off season strengthening can come back under the same coach to be the whipping boys of the topflight.

Could it be because Mawiwi did a ‘Kalisto Pasuwa’ towards the end of last term and got rid of his assistant to go it alone? Is he being exposed for his own shortcomings which might have been masked by the presence of a competent assistant?

That could be the only logical explanation, unless there is sabotage at the club — a favourite excuse for local under-fire coaches.

This leads us to Pasuwa, the firing of his assistant Tonderai Ndiraya and a frightening dip in form.

Not long after Pasuwa fired Ndiraya results slid triggering a chorus of calls for the former Dynamos midfielder’s return.
To defuse this Pasuwa hired Philemon Mutyakureva as his assistant, who often looks like a disinterested spectator.
Mutyakureva never seems to have anything to say, at training or during matches.

Could Dynamos’ lack of results be down to the understaffed technical department? Every coach needs a helping hand, in Europe coaches have more than one assistant and surely Pasuwa needs more.
Pasuwa might be a serial winner at Dynamos as far as the league is concerned, but despite this his job rarely looks safe.

The relocation from Rufaro stadium to the National Sports Stadium (NSS) could also be a factor. Dynamos benefitted from their chemistry with fans at Rufaro; they drew inspiration from the intimidating atmosphere created by their loyal band of supporters and many teams suffered in that stadium.

Dynamos don’t really look at home at the giant NSS which is usually less than half full.

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