Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa has expressed his concern over his team’s possible fixtures backlog following the postponement of the big Harare derby which had been set for Rufaro Stadium this afternoon.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) on Friday announced that the Harare derby had been postponed due to Dynamos’ participation in a challenge match against rivals Highlanders, which is part of the festivities lined up at the inauguration of President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa at the National Sports Stadium today.
The struggling Harare giants recently had their league match against Highlanders postponed after being reportedly put on standby to play for the inauguration celebrations, which were initially put on hold following opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s court challenge.
The general sentiment has been that the postponements were a blessing in disguise for Dynamos as it affords them time to regularise the capture of new signing Kingston Nkhatha.
Nkhatha signed for DeMbare during the mid-season transfer window after being released by South African Premiership side SuperSport United, but the Glamour Boys can only register him on September 1 following a delay in receiving his international transfer certificate.
Mutasa, however, feels the likelihood of his team playing more catchup matches — which are most likely going to be mid-week games — could work against them, given their current precarious position on the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League log standing.
DeMbare currently occupy 13th position with 26 points from 22 matches, just five points above the relegation zone.
“It’s been a bit frustrating, to be honest. more so when you look at our fixtures that have been postponed against Highlanders and CAPS United, you definitely know they can never be played as midweek encounters,” Mutasa told Standardsport in an interview yesterday.
“The worry then comes when you’re going to play those catch-up matches you’ll end up probably playing a midweek fixture and then play a weekend fixture and the other team you will be playing will have a whole week to prepare.
“It will be energy-sapping for the boys and the intensity will not be the same, so here and there you are bound to be affected as a team but at times you just have to make do with what is there and we will continue to work hard.”
The Dynamos gaffer also emphasised the importance of their match against Highlanders this afternoon, indicating that he would be fielding his strongest side for the match.
DeMbare and Bosso are yet to play their reverse league fixture and this afternoon’s clash could be a dress rehearsal for that game.
“All week we have been preparing for CAPS United, but obviously we have shifted focus to a Highlanders side, which is equally as good as CAPS United,” he said.
“The focus also remains the same, we would want to see a return from the preparation that we put in irrespective of the fact that the name of the opponents and the competition is not the same as we had prepared for. The good thing is we won’t be inactive and we will be playing a competitive game.”
Mutasa said due to his team’s struggles in the league, he did not have the luxury to rest his senior players as he continues to search for the perfect combinations ahead of the business end of the season.
“If you look at where we are right now, we don’t have the luxury of trying to chop and change our playing personnel, so we are probably going to use the players that were going to play against CAPS United and see whether they had prepared enough,” he said.
“You never know you might find out that you will need to play a midweek fixture to play catch-up, so we would just want to continue with our training in preparation for our next encounter.”
After what has been a disappointing season so far for the Dynamos fans, Mutasa feels it is important to win today’s match against their arch- rivals, which is likely to be played in front of a bumper crowd.
“It’s also an honour to play in a match of this magnitude where the country will be celebrating the inauguration of the president of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“So, we would obviously want to come out with a positive result and a good performance.”