15 September 2017

…How Dynamos lost 2003 title

Biggie Zuze (L) and Lloyd Mutasa

DYNAMOS coaches find themselves caught in between a war they might never understand as they head for a crucial Harare derby against bitter rivals CAPS United at Rufaro on Sunday.

This match was supposed to have been played in the first half of the season but had to be shelved as CAPS United took part in the CAF Champions League group stage.

It now comes on a weekend being used for the Chibuku Super Cup preliminary round as both clubs play catch-up in the championship race where Dynamos have two games in hand and CAPS United have three.

They are involved in mid-week action next Thursday as Dynamos resume their abandoned match against Chapungu at Ascot while CAPS United, who will then be left with a home tie against Highlanders, visit relegation threatened Hwange.

Victory on Sunday, which will complete a double over CAPS, will take Dynamos top of the league standings and that is the coaches’ dream as they however, battle to reshape the team amid suspensions to two key defenders.

But more challenging is the politics around Cameroonian Christian Epoupa Ntouba, who was rightly sent off in the Battle of Zimbabwe against Highlanders at Rufaro in a poorly handled match that ended 1-1.

Zifa boss, Phillip Chiyangwa, who is in charge of the association’s referees committee announced on Monday that the red card had been rescinded.

The Premier Soccer League later stated that Ntouba remained suspended on the basis that football rules governing the league state that the referee’s decision is final and also because Dynamos had not followed the proper appeal procedure.

Politically, the Dynamos leadership might want to take advantage of Chiyangwa’s intervention and field Ntouba on Sunday against CAPS especially given that his brace gave them a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture at the National Sports Stadium a fortnight ago.

But the Dynamos coaches and supporters are worried by the consequences of an action that is not supported by the laws governing the Premiership.

They are agreed that the best way out is to exclude Ntouba from the team on Sunday and protect the points they already have because having him in the line-up will cost them THREE points and most likely the Premiership title.

Dynamos coaches Lloyd Mutasa and Biggie Zuze have done extremely well under very difficult conditions, a reward for their decision to assemble a squad of little known players. This probably explains why they are still fulfilling matches and showing unwavering commitment despite being owed salaries for about four months and bonuses for 12 matches (nine wins and three draws).

Take this scenario to a squad of season players like there is at How Mine, CAPS United, Ngezi Platinum, FC Platinum and Harare City and you have countless boycotts, strikes.

And for the campaign to be ruined by Ntouba’s red card will be grossly unfair and they have the 2003 campaign as reference when an ill-advised decision by the club leadership to use an illegal player cost Dynamos three points.

Dynamos had been told not to field Edmore Mufema in their home match against Lancashire Steel but they went against the advice and had three points docked. That, couple with a 2-1 home loss to Chapungu amid internal friction, cost them the title under the late Keegan Mumba.

Amazulu went on to win the league by three points.

The Dynamos executive tried all avenues to recover the three points, including a High Court application but lost as Mufema was ruled to be a Motor Action player.

Now 14 years down the line, Dynamos find themselves faced with a challenge similar to 2003 and a political decision to field Ntouba will be as fatal as fielding Mufema against Lancashire Steel.

Mutasa and Dynamos will win everyone’s respect by excluding Ntouba from their next two matches so that he serves the two-match suspension for the red card against Highlanders.