WHEN Dynamos coach Kalisto Pasuwa relegated his vice-captain Thomas Magorimbo and another battle-hardened utility player Oscar Machapa to the bench in favour of a fresh-faced teenager Blessing Moyo, he appeared like a clueless coach.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
But in his first full Premier Soccer League season, Moyo has shamed Pasuwa’s critics by impressively personalising the right-back position at the Glamour Boys.
Staking a claim in the starting line-up was however an enormous task for the 19-year-old.
After completing the entire 90 minutes against Monomotapa last October in his first competitive match, he did little to convince the DeMbare faithful that he was the godsend that the coach seemed to regard him.
He was thrown back to the sidelines where he patiently waited for his time. The time finally came in May this year in a ZNA Charity Shield semifinal match against CAPS United.
Dynamos assistant coach Philemon Mutyakureva was at the helm with Pasuwa away on national duty with the Warriors in Tanzania.
Many thought Mutyakureva was doing things his own way, disregarding his boss Pasuwa by throwing the 19-year-old into the cauldron.
On that Sunday afternoon, an out-of-sorts Moyo was a bunch of nerves, apparently jittery and puzzled fans who watched in disbelief Mutyakureva’s “experiment” as DeMbare went on to lose 1-0.
Pasuwa came back to confirm the “experiment” was on his orders – that he had confidence in his greenhorn. The boy has now shamed detractors, paying his coach’s faith abundantly.
“I still remember that game against CAPS United,” said Moyo.
“Obviously, I was nervous mainly because we were playing our biggest rivals and such a game comes with a lot of pressure. The coach just told me that football is the same. He said I should go onto the pitch and play my normal game. But as time went on I adjusted and I am now enjoying my game.
“I think I am now composed because I came through the club ranks and I am used to the Dynamos system. I have settled well in the team. I want to thank my coach and teammates who helped me stay focused on my football.”
That bid for the first team jersey began eight years ago when he joined Dynamos juniors as an 11-year-old.
“I came through the hands of a number of coaches. At first it was Simon Chuma, then Elvis Chiweshe, Biggie Zuze and Tonderayi Ndiraya. I owe it to all these coaches for nurturing me into the player that I am today,” he said.
Moyo cemented his place at Dynamos last weekend when he scored his first ever goal for the 21-time Zimbabwean champions against How Mine in the NetOne One Wallet semifinal match at Mandava.
After that long drive which is a serious contender for the Goal of the Season, Moyo then developed the knack for long distance drives.
In a league match against Chiredzi FC last week, he had four powerful shots launched from outside the box that troubled the Lowveld side’s defence.
“I felt great to score my first goal for Dynamos in that match against How Mine. I knew that one day I would score and it is a plus that it was a beautiful goal,” he said.
The soft-spoken defender has now stolen the limelight, but has been barred from talking to the media by team manager Richard Chihoro because “he is still too young and we do not want him to be put under pressure.”
But Pasuwa unleashed him to the media soon after the How Mine game and the player quickly expressed enormous desire to help Dynamos retain the league championship.
“I really want to lift the league championship. It is good that this year I am fully involved in the fight for it unlike last season. The NetOne Cup is also important to the team and we will give it our best shot,” Moyo said.
The right-back position could be solved in Pasuwa’s Under-23 squad if the former Churchill Boys High student’s star continues to rise.