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Can Highlanders end DeMbare jinx?

On July 22 2012, Takesure Chinyama played his last match for Dynamos before departing for Orlando Pirates in South Africa.


It was at Barbourfields against Highlanders and he scored past Ariel Sibanda who was guarding the Mpilo end goal in a match that ended 1-1.

Chiyama passionately celebrated the goal as if his life depended on it.

Three years later, the 32-year-old is back at DeMbare and ironically, his first match will be against Highlanders at Barbourfields this afternoon.

Today’s Castle Lager Premier Soccer League will thrust the big forward into spotlight if he can again score to deny Highlanders their first win over Dynamos since July 30 2006.

He could face Sibanda again and has already stoked flames against his side’s traditional rivals.

“Yes, I am ready for Sunday’s match. We have to beat them [Highlanders] and I know we will do that,” said Chinyama.

Chinyama’s return to DeMbare is highly expected to ease pressure on an attack that appeares blunt after managing 15 goals in 16 games.

Unlike his predecessor Kalisto Pasuwa who seemed lenient with strikers, coach David Mandigora has channelled more attention on forwards during this mid-season transfer window by getting rid of the misfiring Patrick Khumbula, Dominic Chungwa and Simba Nhivi while Farai Mupasiri’s future is uncertain.

On top of Chinyama, Mandigora has brought in Roderick Mutuma, Richard Kawondera and registering fit-again Anesu Gondo who was, however, dropped from this afternoon’s tie.

“We need the goals. Our strike force is one department that was troublesome and we saw a huge need to beef up. That is exactly what we have done and I hope we will improve upfront,” said Mandigora.

However, while the build-up to a match of such magnitude requires a coach’s hands-on approach, Mandigora did not spend much time with his team for the better part of last week as he was attending a fitness course organised by Zifa.

His assistant Tonderayi Ndiraya was in charge.

It was a different story with his Highlanders counterpart Bongani Mafu who was with his squad all week. But while Mandigora reinforced his attack with established strikers, Mafu has opted for low-profile forwards.

Bosso have recalled Peter Muduhwa who was on loan to Bulawayo Chiefs while McCarthy Dube was promoted from their Division Two juniors.

Their biggest acquisition is teenager, Obert Tafira who used to be a Prince Edward teammate of Thomas Chideu who recently left for Ajax Cape Town in South Africa.

Mafu however failed to get his main target Ishmael Wadi from Bulawayo Chiefs, because the price tag was too steep for Bosso.

“Most of the players we have been trying to get are highly-priced and the clubs want immediate cash,” said Mafu.

“But we live in a harsh economy and things are tough. We lost out on a number of good strikers we had targeted,” said Mafu.

While their strike force looks lightweight on paper, the snipers’ role this afternoon falls on Knox Mtizwa and Obadiah Tarumbwa.

It presents Mafu with a tricky situation as he faces a stubborn side that has reigned supreme on them for close to a decade.
He has already faced Dynamos’ ruthlessness when they lost 3-2 at Rufaro last month.

“This coming game is one which requires psychological astuteness. Anything can happen. Dynamos are a massive club and they have made Bulawayo their second home. It is a mammoth task for us,” said Mafu.

Meanwhile, CAPS United’s mid-season buying spree will be under test at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon when they host Harare City in a potentially stormy derby.

Leaders Chicken Inn visit Dongo Sawmills at Vengere in what appears to be an easy assignment for them.

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