The Herald (Harare)

19 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Dynamos Lift 19th League Crown

DYNAMIC Dynamos sealed a record 19th title when they edged bitter rivals Highlanders to win a rivetting 2012 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League championship race with a draw against relegated Hardbody at Ascot in Gweru yesterday. The explosive battle was probably fittingly decided by

superior goal difference after both teams completed the toughest marathon in the era of the Premiership with 69 points apiece.

It was also probably befitting that the head-to-head confrontation between the country's two biggest clubs had to be decided on the final day of the season with Highlanders winning 2-0 over Blue Rangers at Gwanzura while DeMbare's 1-1 draw with Hardbody was still good enough to help them remain atop.

That a massive 19 points separated the pair of Dynamos and Highlanders from third-placed Chicken Inn puts into perspective the difference in class between the two giants and the rest of the Premiership.

An ecstatic Dynamos chairman Kenny Mubaiwa immediately dedicated the championship to the club's multitude of fans whose "Zora Butter dance craze" held the nation spellbound all season.

Just as they have often done all season by packing Rufaro and turning it into a cauldron so intimidating for visiting teams even for their international opponents, the DeMbare fans turned Ascot into a sea of blue and white with a carnival atmosphere engulfing the Gweru venue well before their team's final battle for the championship got underway.

As was the case last year, when the championship was also decided on the final day in a battle between Dynamos and FC Platinum, the Air Force of Zimbabwe ensured there would not be a big wait for the championship trophy to arrive at Ascot when they flew in the huge piece of silverware a few minutes after the final whistle.

Although the Dynamos fans went into delirium at Ascot while those who had remained in Harare and those dotted around the country went into spontaneous parties, Mubaiwa urged them to "hold on a bit until this coming weekend".

Mubaiwa also paid tribute to coach Callisto Pasuwa and his troops for a "job well done" and noted that winning back-to-back league championships was a rare feat that could only be achieved by a gritty side.

"To retain the championship trophy like we have done is a great achievement. I think our supporters have really won the trophy for us. I want to urge them to just hold on a bit and come again in their thousands for the Mbada Diamonds Cup final against Monomotapa, then we can have one big party.

"We really want to make it a double again so the war is not yet over," Mubaiwa said.

The Dynamos chairman also paid tribute to Highlanders for a tough fight and taking the race to the wire.

"I must congratulate Highlanders for putting up such a big fight and it all added to the excitement of winning, they are a good and strong team.

"Now that we have won a second championship our aim is to make it three in row in terms of the league titles and we believe we can achieve that," Mubaiwa said.

The Dynamos boss also said his club would soon after the Mbada Diamonds Cup final shift their focus to preparations for the Champions League in which they seek to do better than their dismal showing in the last two years.

Dynamos, one of the highly rated teams on the continent have surprisingly failed to reach the Champions League group stage in the last two seasons with MC Alger of Algeria knocking them out in 2011 before Tunisian giants Esperance humiliated them 7-1 on aggregate this year.

"We really have to start our Champions League preparations early this time around. We will take a short break then take our preparations to one of the neighbouring countries.

"We want to be up there and competing with the best in the Champions League

"Our plea to the PSL will be that if we may be allowed to register more players because it is really taxing to play in the Champions League and all those domestic games with a limited squad. Maybe if we could be allowed to register more players," Mubaiwa said.

But before they can think of the Champions League, it is time for Dynamos and their hordes of fans to enjoy fun in the sun and bask in the glory of a new record from where it may take some time to be "knocked off the perch".

And as Mubaiwa rightfully put it, a special tribute should go to Bosso who only lost once all year, for their competitive edge that made the 2012 campaign one for the archives.

The Bulawayo giants will on reflection realise that their nine draws made the difference between them being crowned champions and coming second best.

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