13 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Pasuwa Remains Calm

DESPITE his team being on the verge of a double dosage of glory once again, Dynamos coach Callisto Pasuwa has remained modest and instead rallied his charges to hold their nerve and remain focused on their three remaining decisive assignments. Pasuwa watched with satisfaction as Dynamos powered to their second Mbada Diamonds Cup final with a 3-0 demolition of bitter Harare rivals CAPS United at Barbourfields on Sunday.

It was as convincing a victory as they come and it left the Dynamos family firmly believing that now the Class of 2012 can emulate last year's crew which achieved a league and cup double.

Dynamos will now face surprise packages Monomotapa in the Mbada Diamonds Cup final on November 24.

But before they can shift their attention to the final of the country's richest knock-out tournament, Pasuwa wants his men to hold their nerve and see off the challenges of Buffaloes at home and Hardbody away in their last two Premiership assignments in which victories in the two games will guarantee them the championship.

Dynamos did not even have much time to celebrate their massive victory over CAPS United in Bulawayo with Pasuwa ordering an early night in camp and demanding that the players "try to rest and get ready for the league game against Buffaloes".

Instead it was their hordes of fans who had travelled from the capital who combined with their Bulawayo counterparts to hold all-night parties across the City of Kings as they celebrated "the fall of the enemy".

DeMbare host Buffaloes at Rufaro tomorrow before travelling to Gweru to take on a Hardbody side that has a mathematical chance of just escaping relegation.

For Pasuwa winning both titles will silence his critics and shame those who questioned his capacity to coach Dynamos after the Glamour Boys' demise in the Champions League where they failed to go beyond the second round after losing to InterClube of Angola.

Many of his critics felt the platform had been laid for Pasuwa by his predecessor Lloyd Mutasa and refused to fully attribute the championship success to him.

"It is true that there was a lot of talk last year when I took over, but I think we have tried to have continuity and this year we have been working hard as a team since day one of the season and we now need to complete the job by winning the two titles so that those with doubts will see the job that I have been doing with these boys," Pasuwa said.

Dynamos have also since put their Champions League disappointment behind them to reassert their dominance of the domestic game by reaching the Mbada Diamonds Cup final and maintaining a two-point lead over second-placed Highlanders in an intense Premiership race.

Pasuwa yesterday insisted he did not want his team to think of the possible success yet "until we have achieved what we are aiming for".

"It is very important to stay focussed and make sure we do not get nervous. So, after our game against CAPS, I told the players that there was no time to celebrate because we needed to rest since we were travelling back to Harare today (yesterday).

"We will have a light training tomorrow then we play Buffaloes on Wednesday and another game on Sunday away in Gweru," Pasuwa said.

But what was the secret behind the clinical demolition of CAPS United?

"I told the players that it is never easy for us whether we are playing CAPS United or any other team, but it is even more difficult playing CAPS United especially these days in view of the fact that we have been beating them in the last few years. CAPS United came into the game with a physical approach which seemed to disturb our rhythm at first but I was happy that we quickly settled and our eye for goal helped us.

"Maybe the tension of the game also affected CAPS United but I must say I was surprised by the way they crumbled and even though I was aiming for a victory, I didn't think it would be that big since we had been anticipating a very tough afternoon.

"I think the fact that we seem to have managed to solve our problems in midfield helped make the difference in this game. We hade been having a problem in the defensive and central midfield with the injuries we have had.

"But Thomas Magorimbo has fitted in well there and you can see that his ball winning ability and command has helped Tawanda Muparati and all the other youngsters to come alive again and create chances for our strikers," Pasuwa said.

The former Dynamos and Zimbabwe midfielder also paid tribute to his defence and gave special mention to the new centre back partnership of Gift Bello and Partson Jaure. Following the Zifa decision to slap seasoned centre back Guthrie Zhokinyi with a life ban over Asiagate three weeks ago and with George Magariro a pale shadow of himself this season, Pasuwa had to call upon former Kiglon man Bello to come and partner Warriors' trialist Jaure.

The new defensive partnership has been a gamble that has paid well for Pasuwa as Jaure and Bello have combined to ensure cover for rookie goalkeeper George Chigova who was barely tested against CAPS United as the defenders quickly mopped up any threat the Makepekepe forwards posed.

"We lost Guthrie at a very delicate time of the season and there was nothing much I could do, but I am happy that Bello and Jaure have quickly gelled and that has helped us to remain stable at the back because you always need a stable defence.

"It must be remembered that we also lost two key players -- Takesure Chinyama and Washington Arubi -- and we had to turn to the youngsters and I am very happy that players like Farai Mupasiri have come in and challenged for places and you can see the impact he has made in the team," Pasuwa said.

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