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DeMbare stopper vows Highlanders shutout


We cannot continue to live in the past ... Highlanders captain Innocent Mapuranga

20/06/2014 00:00:00
by Sports Reporter
 
New man in goal for Dynamos ... Artwell Mukandi
 
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DYNAMOS shot stopper Artwell Mukandi has said he is targeting to keep a clean sheet as the champions host rivals Highlanders in what could be one of local football's most emotive occasions.

Mukandi has taken over as the number one goalkeeper at the Zimbabwe champions following the departure of George Chigova who left on Thursday to join new club SuperSport United in South Africa.

Mukandi, who had lived in the shadows of the towering Chigova, believes he now has an opportunity to prove himself.

The former Monomotapa stopper, who kept goal for the Harare giants in their 1-0 defeat to Hwange last week, said he hoped to shut out Highlanders strikers on Sunday.

"It will be a tough match against Highlanders. They will obviously be seeking for an outright win but I am confident we can beat them because we are at home,” he said.

“This is also an opportunity for me to show what I can do after the coach showed faith in me since Chigova left. My aim is not to concede a goal on Sunday."

Dynamos go into the match low on confidence after losing four matches in the eleven they have played so far. They lost to ZPC Kariba, Buffaloes, Chapungu and Hwange recently.

The champions are fifth on the league table and face high flying old enemy Highlanders who sit pretty in second place, at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.

DeMbare have a huge challenge to prove that they are still a force and that those defeats were grotesque accidents, not the end of a glorious age.

Defender Ocean Mushure said Dynamos were on course to extend their league dominance over Highlanders on Sunday.


We will extend our league dominance over Highlanders ... Ocean Mushure

“This game is for us to win. Everything is pointing at us to collect maximum points,” Mushure said.

“But that does not mean that we have already won the game. We have to work for the three points and not be complacent.

“We have been telling each other as players that we have to utilise all the advantages that we have over Highlanders. We know they really want to win this game but we will fight to avoid losing.”



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Goalkeepers’ coach Tichaona Diya acknowledges they have displayed lacklustre performances not consistent with the defending champions but refuses to stigmatise his troops by those four defeats which threaten to plunge them into an irretrievable nose dive.

He said it’s time to keep the faith and remind themselves of the basis of their past dreams.

“We are at home and have to collect maximum points,” said Diya after the team’s morning training session at the National Sports Stadium on Friday.

“The defeat to Hwange is painful but it’s now water under the bridge. We have to bounce back to winning ways,” he said.

“It will not be easy against Highlanders. They are unbeaten but we are not worrying ourselves much about those stats.

“This game against Highlanders is self-motivating.  The boys just don’t want to lose against Highlanders. We need to believe. It’s time to keep the faith,” said Diya.

Dynamos coach Calisto Pasuwa is still fretting over the fitness of midfielders Devon Chafa and Tawanda Muparati who were expected to pass late fitness tests.

Bosso last beat Dynamos way back in 2006, the same year they won the league championship. Attempts to defeat their rivals in subsequent years have ended in disappointments.

Highlanders captain Innocent Mapuranga however says they do not want to continue living in the past.

“There is a lot at stake and it will be a very interesting match,” he said.

“Of course we have not beaten Dynamos for a long time now but we can’t continue to live in the past. This is a completely new game and we are going there with a positive attitude.

“Football is always a game of pressure and it’s natural that you have pressure in games like these but what is important for us is to approach it as any other game.

“We are not reading much into the fact that we are still unbeaten. All we need are maximum points.”

Highlanders are also coming from two straight drawn games against FC Platinum and Triangle but they are still to taste defeat since the start of the campaign.

They have in all drawn six times - two shot of those recorded in the 2012 season when they finished the campaign as runners-up to Dynamos.

The Bulawayo giants had their confidence also boosted by the quick recovery of the injured pair of Kuda Mahachi and Rahman Kutsanzira who are expected to make the trip to Harare.

FIXTURES & RESULTS

FRIDAY: Chapungu FC 1-1 Harare City FC (Ascot Stadium 1500hrs)

SATURDAY: Bantu Rovers FC vs Buffaloes FC (Luveve Stadium 1500hrs), Chiredzi FC vs Caps United FC (Chishamiso Stadium 1500hrs), Black Rhinos FC vs Triangle United FC (Rimuka Stadium 1500hrs)

SUNDAY: Dynamos FC vs Highlanders FC (National Sports Stadium 1500hrs), Hwange FC vs Chicken Inn FC (Colliery Stadium 1500hrs), How Mine FC vs FC Platinum (Luveve Stadium 1500hrs), Shabanie Mine FC vs ZPC Kariba FC (Maglas Stadium 1500hrs)

WHO WILL BE CELEBRATING ON SUNDAY?


 
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