Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya was left dejected after Highlanders threw spanners into his work for the second time this season, breaking the Harare giants’ 11-match unbeaten run with a Chibuku Cup victory at Rufaro on Sunday.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Before Sunday, Dynamos’ previous defeat had been against Highlanders in the league on June 16 in Bulawayo at a time Ndiraya was trying to steer the club out of the relegation zone.
Ndiraya had lost once in his first seven games in charge of DeMbare after taking over from Lloyd Chigowe before the narrow 1-0 defeat to Bosso.
“After having gone on a good run of results previously, we lost to Highlanders and now, we had gone for many matches (without losing) and we have lost again today to the same opponent,” a despairing Ndiraya told reporters on Sunday.
“I always talk about where we are coming from and we had really raised the expectations of our fans because of how we have performed in the previous matches. But here we are, we have gone back to where we were a number of months ago.”
The former Ngezi Platinum coach watched his side put up arguably their worst performance since he took over as coach in April, failing to string together any good passes and resorting to long ball tactics all afternoon.
While Highlanders were not at their best either, they played purposeful football on occasions, which was enough to see them progress to the next round.
Ndiraya was left to rue the absence of most of the players he brought in during the midseason transfer window, especially striker Evans Katema, who was injured on national duty.
“If you look at it, all the key players we brought in (midseason), we only had Murwira in action today. In terms of the performance and quality on the pitch, I think we were where we were a months ago,” the Dynamos mentor said.
“I think Evans was really a key player for us, so is Simba Nhivi and captain (Edward) Sadomba has been out for quite a while and those are the top three strikers we have in the team.
“We hope that those key players will quickly recover and come back to the fold and fight for the team. We hope that those who did duty today can also improve.”
Ndiraya brought in Katema, Nhivi, Murwira and Archford Gutu to add more experience to the team which had a stuttering start to the season.
Gutu is understood to have missed Sunday’s game due to illness.
However, the focus for DeMbare is to shift to the league race, where they are currently sixth, seven points behind the leaders Chicken Inn and Caps United.
Dynamos host Yadah FC at Rufaro tomorrow, where they will be hoping for a win that can boost their faltering prospects for silverware this term.
One of DeMbare’s main problems has been their failure to score enough.
Among the top 10 clubs on the topflight league table, only Ngezi have scored less goals than Dynamos’ 21.
And with some of their key attackers set to miss tomorrow’s clash, Ndiraya will be hoping new heroes can emerge and help the team convert its chances.
Only four teams have hit double figures in terms of the number of draws and Dynamos are on that list which also includes Highlanders (10), TelOne (12) and Herentals (10).
Tomorrow, Ndiraya will be praying that his side does not play another draw against the league’s strugglers Yadah, who have so far lost 11 matches in 23 outings.
Tomorrow: Bulawayo Chiefs v Harare City (Luveve), Chapungu v Hwange (Ascot), FC Platinum v TelOne (Mandava), Dynamos v Yadah (Rufaro), Ngezi Platinum Stars v ZPC Kariba (Baobab), Caps United v Triangle (NSS), Highlanders v Chicken Inn (Barbourfields)
Thursday: Black Rhinos v Mushowani (Rufaro), Manica Diamonds v Herentals (Vengere)