21 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Murape Eyes Mbada

Photo: Confederation of African Football.
The Zimbabwean Dynamos Football Club

DYNAMOS are not getting into the party mood yet despite retaining the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title this week as they now set their sights firmly on defending the Mbada Diamonds Cup at Rufaro this Saturday. DeMbare are on the threshold of completing a remarkable back-to-back league and cup double after bagging the Castle Lager championship, finishing the marathon just ahead of revitalised power-houses Highlanders.

Veteran midfielder, Murape Murape, yesterday said the Harare giants are channelling their energies towards winning the lucrative tournament.

DeMbare are the holders after beating Motor Action 1-0 in the inaugural competition last season.

Murape said DeMbare, who had a difficult outing in Gweru against relegated side Hardbody in their last match of the league campaign, will not look much into the success they achieved in the main competition during the 2012 season.

"We are heading for the festive season and it's important for us to lift the Mbada Diamonds Cup because of the obvious financial rewards that this Cup carries.

"We need that record of winning it twice on a row.

"It has been quite a hectic season and I believe winning the league on Sunday was one battle completed.

"We have worked hard to be where we are now but we are not celebrating yet since the season is not finished.

"We have another battle ahead of us. That is why we dispersed to our homes after being crowned champions with nothing spectacular being arranged and then returning to training ground today (yesterday) to prepare for the final.

"The challenge that we face against Monomotapa calls for us to put on hold all kinds of celebrations. As you know Monomotapa are playing their best football this season.

"We all saw it when we played them in the league and I hope on Saturday we will put up a better show. Celebrations will come afterwards," said Murape.

The veteran midfielder won his fourth league title with the Harare giants on Sunday to make him the most decorated active player in domestic football.

Murape, who is now in the twilight of his career, was there when the Glamour Boys won the championship in 1997, 2007, 2011 and now in 2012.

Murape said DeMbare have experienced ups and downs during the season but they remained resolute.

"It means a lot to achieve such great feats with one club. I owe it to the power of God and I would like to continue working hard and it will be a wonderful thing to be remembered when the history of Dynamos is told," he said.

"The bad thing however is that we don't live in past glory. We must also remember that we also came through some difficult times along the road.

"But everything comes through hard work and the blessing of God. On Sunday Hardbody who had nothing to play for and almost embarrassed us when it mattered most. Such is football.

"Sometimes form deserts you and no matter how much effort you put in, results may not come. It was worse this season because of the adversity we faced from a section of critics early in the season.

"I don't think we could have achieved what we achieved so far this year if we had not remained focused on our goals," said Murape.

He hasn't forgotten the time when critics questioned the quality of the crop at DeMbare.

I remember there was a time when some people questioned the calibre of the players at Dynamos, if they are really championship material because that time results were not coming our way.

"I am happy the guys have answered the critics on the field of play at the end of the day.

"They proved themselves and I would love to win the Mbada Diamonds Cup again but as you can see the road had been very tricky this year.

"It is going to be an exciting final against Monomotapa," said Murape.

Dynamos appear to have learnt their lessons in this Cup competition this year.

They encountered problems against minnows Quelaton early in the campaign when they needed a penalty shootout to progress to the quarter-final after a 1-1 draw in regulation.

Denver Mukamba, who is in the running for the Golden Boot and Player of the tournament awards, helped them to negotiate the quarter-final stage by scoring a brace against Gunners in a 3-0 win at Baghdad.

Mukamba then took his tally in the tournament to four when he scored a spectacular opening goal against CAPS United at Barbourfields to lead the Harare giants to a deserved 3-0 victory.

DeMbare strikers Roderick Mutuma and Simba Sithole also scored in the match.

They now face Monomotapa hoping to leap the final hurdle.

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