Ishemunyoro Chingwere —
Kallisto Pasuwa will not be on the touchline when Dynamos and FC Platinum clash at the National Sports Stadium today, but his shadow hovers over this Castle Lager Premier Soccer League clash.
Pasuwa is out of employment after Zifa decided not to renew his contract following a poor Warriors show at the Africa Cup of Nations.
His availability has not gone noticed at both DeMbare and Pure Platinum Play.
Dynamos president Kenny Mubaiwa has not been emphatic in his backing of current coach Lloyd Mutasa while FC Platinum appreciate that the Warriors job will be difficult to resist for their gaffer, Norman Mapeza.
Mapeza took charge of the Warriors in last weekend’s friendly against Zambia and reports are that Zifa are mulling offering him the job on a permanent basis.
FC Platinum desperately want to win the league and have invested heavily again as they seek the right to be called the kings of Zimbabwean football.
The miners, as has become the norm, have been active in the close-season, bringing in Lizwe Sweswe from Tsholotsho to assist Mapeza. They also signed highly-rated midfielders Brett Amidu and Talent Chawapiwa as well as striker Gift Mbweti, who scored nine goals for Hwange last term.
But on the eve of a campaign in which they have demanded “total commitment”, their coach’s head has been turned by the prospects of rejoining the Warriors.
Mapeza refusal to rule himself out of the national team job has complicated matters at a time a coach boasting of four league crowns on his CV like Pasuwa is available.
FC Platinum media liaison officer Chido Chizondo insisted that the Zvishavane-based outfit would only make a decision if Mapeza asked to end his contract and join the Warriors.
“There is nothing much we can say for now. We have resolved as a club that we will only cross that bridge when we get to it,” she said.
DeMbare’s Mubaiwa, although reiterating his support for Mutasa, conceded that the availability of a coach like Pasuwa on the market was difficult to ignore.
“As an executive we have a duty to show support to our coaches and give them all the confidence going into the new season,” Mubaiwa said. “But just as you speculate, there is no denying the fact that if what we planned does not materialise, Pasuwa will be the first person any ambitious club will consider although for now I must emphasize we are not interested in his services.”
DeMbare open the 2017 season licking the wounds of a 2016 in which they failed to finish in the top two for the first time in a decade.
The Glamour Boys had finished as either league champions or runners-up since 2007, but their fortunes plummeted in 2016 with their decision to hire unknown Portuguese coach Jorge Silva.
Silva was fired mid-season and Mutasa was elevated to the top job.
While the former Dynamos midfielder has not been a disaster, he is yet to earn the confidence of the Dynamos executive.
Last season FC Platinum completed a double over Dynamos and this clash has all the hallmarks of a potential thriller.
Fixtures: (All matches kickoff at 3pm)
Highlanders vs Bulawayo City (Barbourfields), Shabanie Mine vs CAPS United (Maglas), Dynamos vs Platinum (NSS)