By Tadious Manyepo
Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa has challenged his charges to put their heads on the block and shrug off their slow starters’ tag as they target a flying start to the 2018 Premiership season against Chicken Inn at Barbourfields tomorrow.
The Glamour Boys often struggle in the opening stages of the marathon, a factor that has always come back to haunt them at the later stages of the campaign.
Ironically, they fell 0-3 on Match Day One when Mutasa was assistant to Portuguese coach Paulo Jorge Silva in 2016.
DeMbare also lost 0-1 to eventual title winners FC Platinum in their first game last season.
But, Mutasa, whose team has had a good pre-season after winning their maiden Commander Zimbabwe National Army’s Charities Shield, by beating CAPS United and Highlanders, is positive this year will be different.
The gaffer, who last year guided his club to a second place finish, has not made it a secret that he is gunning for the title.
“Of course, every game we play is a tight one, obviously because we represent a big institution called Dynamos,” said Mutasa.
“We are fully cognisant of the fact that we have been slow starters for a couple of seasons now. We have been very bad, especially in the opening stages, especially the first game.
“We want to change that now. Of course, Chicken Inn are a very good team and we have always found the going tough when we play against them.
“They have good players whom we need to respect. Obviously, Saturday’s (tomorrow) game is going to be a pressure game.
“But, all the same, we want to win this game for us to make an early impact. We finished second last season and this year we want to do better. That is to say we are aiming for the championship. If Dynamos fail to win the title, then I would have failed as a coach.
“We should start by playing good football against Chicken Inn. We have been playing friendlies in the recent past where we have not been scoring many goals, but I am sure we will be up to the task.”
Dynamos will miss Emmanuel Mandiranga and Peace Makaha, who have been sidelined by injuries, but they look set to have their Cameroonian striker Christian Joel Epoupa, who has been having some personal issues.
The club’s top scorer last season trained with rest of the squad yesterday.
“Christian is around and doing his part in training. We will see as the technical team how everything goes in terms of his personal issues between now and the day we face Chicken Inn,” said Mutasa.
Bulawayo City v Chapungu (Luveve)
Ngezi Platinum v Herentals (Baobab)
ZPC Kariba v FC Platinum (NSS)
Nichrut v Mutare City (Mandava)
Yadah Stars v Bulawayo Chiefs (Rufaro)
Chicken Inn v Dynamos (Barbourfields)
Highlanders v Black Rhinos (Barbourfields)
Shabanie Mine v Triangle (Mandava)
CAPS United v Harare City (NSS)