The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: 'Let's Win It for Richard'

DYNAMOS' players will be hoping to find the courage - at a very difficult time for a club that has been shaken by death - when they host Buffaloes at Rufaro today in a Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tie.

The Harare giants, who are chasing a historic back-to-back league and Cup double, were plunged into mourning on Monday following the death of the club's founding father and chairman of the board of directors Richard Chiminya.

Team manager Richard Chihoro yesterday said the DeMbare family was devastated by the loss and will wear black armbands this afternoon in honour of the late founding father.

Although conceding that they face a tricky finish against Buffaloes and Hardbody (on Sunday), Chihoro said Dynamos would want to give their former chairman a befitting farewell by winning the league title again this year.

In fact, DeMbare could be crowned champions today if they can beat Buffaloes, in the event that their rivals Highlanders drop points at home against FC Platinum.

However, the Glamour Boys are focusing on winning today's match to increase their chances of winning the title as they currently ride on a two-point advantage over Highlanders in the race with two games remaining.

As it stands, Dynamos need four points, at most, to wrap up the 2013 season.

"We have suffered such a big misfortune just when we were about to complete a season that is full of promises.

"So, as a team, we would love to win the trophies (league and Mbada Diamonds Cup) and dedicate the season to the old man for everything that he has done for Dynamos since the early days of the club.

"He was a great leader," said Chihoro.

DeMbare are coming from a morale-boosting Mbada Diamonds Cup semi-final victory over traditional rivals CAPS United at Barbourfields on Sunday.

Chihoro said they are hoping to build on the momentum as they seek to fend off a strong challenge from Highlanders in the title race.

The two clubs are running neck-and-neck, with Dynamos leading the marathon on 65 points while Highlanders have amassed 63 after the round 28 matches.

"It is always tough when the race is heading for the wire. We have told the boys to focus on one game at a time. This time it's Buffaloes and I am sure it's not going to be an easy game.

"We would need to be at our best because we are now heading towards the finishing line," said Chihoro.

DeMbare are not likely to make big changes to the team that started against CAPS United on Sunday with Simba Sithole expected to lead the attack again.

The former CAPS United hitman has been in good form, scoring a goal in each of the club's last four outings. Zambian midfielder Arthur Kaseloki is coming in as replacement for Cliff Sekete, who is on suspension for accumulating three yellow cards.

Dynamos beat Buffaloes 2-0 in the first leg at Sakubva courtesy of goals from Murape Murape and midfield star Denver Mukamba.

Highlanders coach, Kelvin Kaindu, believes they have a tough task against FC Platinum and yesterday vowed that Bosso would double their efforts to collect maximum points and maintain the pressure on Dynamos.

The Bulawayo giants, who have had one of their best campaigns since they last won the championship in 2006, risk finishing the season empty-handed as they have crashed out of the Mbada Diamonds Cup.

Kaindu and his charges are now pinning their hopes on the league championship as they aim for full points in their last two games while praying for a Dynamos slip-up.

Kaindu, however, said they do not expect an easy outing against FC Platinum this afternoon.

"Like what I have said before, it's still game on between Highlanders and Dynamos but we have to focus on the immediate task against FC Platinum.

"We might have beaten them at their home ground the last time we met but I don't think it is going to be that easy again.

"FC Platinum are a good team with a number of talented and experienced players.

"They have the financial muscle as well but we are up to the challenge," said Kaindu.

Highlanders, will be without central defender Eric Mudzingwa, who is serving suspension for accumulating three yellow cards in previous matches against Hardbody, Shabanie Mine and Hwange.

Another defender Lawson Nkomo and one of the club's leading scorers Milton Ncube were expected to undergo late fitness tests yesterday.

Nonetheless, Kaindu has faith in his squad, which has shown determination this season as they seek to end a six-year barren spell.

"I believe we have got a good squad. We have fielded a number of players this season and everyone has played his part for us to be where we are at this moment. We just need to maintain the fight," said Kaindu.

FC Platinum have largely been disappointing this year but they still have a big chance to finish in the top four if they win their remaining games.

The platinum miners, who finished the race on second place in their debut season, are currently seventh on the log table tied on 43 points with local rivals Shabanie Mine.

FC Platinum coach Tendai Chikuni yesterday said the have put behind them the disappointment of losing the Mbada Diamonds semi-final clash against Monomotapa at the weekend.

"We are quite aware that Bosso will come at us because they are chasing the championship and we are prepared for them.

"They have the 12th man in the terraces but we have to look at our position on the log table. It needs us to fight hard so that we finish at a better place," said Chikuni.

However, Kugona Kunenge Kudada were still sweating for the fitness of central defender Norman Togara, who picked a knock in their last game.

While focus will be on teams at the top of the table, a serious battle for survival will be taking place at the bottom where basement sides Hardbody and Blue Rangers could be demoted if they lose their matches.

The teams have tough away fixtures against fellow relegation candidates Hwange and Black Mambas.

Partson Ndabambi leads his Rangers side in a tough assignment at the Colliery while Hardbody face Black Mambas at Morris Depot.

Gunners mentor, Moses Chunga, will also be hoping for good performances from his charges to lift the side from the relegation zone when they meet resurgent Motor Action at the Motor Action Sports Club.

Suspended players

Cliff Sekete (Dynamos), Berven Chirere, Patrick Alifas (Buffaloes), Proud Zereni, Mhleli Sibanda, Innocent Kutsanzira, Joseph Pongolani (Quelaton), Moses Jackson (Chicken Inn), Jacob Muzokomba, Roy Useni (Hardbody), Eric Mudzingwa (Highlanders), Godfrey Nguwodzawo (Harare City), Washington Pakamisa (CAPS United), Blessing Chimwamuchere (Motor Action), Simon Choenda (Shabanie), Simon Shoko (FC Platinum), Charles Mutero (Motor Action)

Fixtures

Today

Dynamos v Buffaloes (Rufaro), Black Mambas v Hardbody (Morris Depot) Chicken Inn v CAPS United (Luveve), Motor Action v Gunners (Motor Action Sports Club), Shabanie Mine v Quelaton (Maglas), Hwange v Blue Rangers (Colliery), Highlanders v FC Platinum (Barbourfields), Harare City v Monomotapa (Gwanzura)

Week 30

Saturday

Harare City v Motor Action (Gwanzura), CAPS United v Shabanie Mine (Rufaro)

Sunday

Monomotapa v Buffaloes (Rufaro), Blue Rangers v Highlanders (Gwanzura), FC Platinum v opBlack Mambas (Mandava), Hardbody v Dynamos (Ascot), Quelaton v Hwange (Luveve), Gunners v Chicken Inn (Lafarge).

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