MURAPE Murape burst onto the domestic football scene in 1997 as a pencil-slim forward at the now defunct Fire Batteries before making a big move to Premiership giants Dynamos where he earned the moniker Monya. Now a veteran of many Premiership battles, Murape still carries the same slender frame and last Sunday he almost turned back the hands of times with a near-flawless performance during Dynamos' Champions League preliminary round, first leg clash against Lesotho Correctional Services which the Glanmour Boys won 3-0 at Rufaro. During the pre-season preparations, Murape had been used as a striker as DeMbare struggle to find a recognisable forward in their matches.
This Sunday, Murape is hoping to continue with his fine form when Dynamos take on Highlanders in the final leg of the Bob 89 Super Cup at Rufaro.
Dynamos have a 2-1 advtanage from the first leg at Barbourfields two weeks ago.Murape said his inspired performance against LCS was meant to motivate the younger players in the current team to aim higher.
"Now that another senior player like Desmond (Maringwa) is no longer around, I feel that I have the responsibility to lead the younger players.
"Most of the players at the team are youngsters and I need to lead them by example. So even if we are at training, I strive to push harder and then younger players will also try to do better than me. The same thing should happen during a match where I have to play well and the younger players will be saying if an older player can do well, why not us?" said Murape.
Murape said the Dynamos camp is still trying to adjust to life without Maringwa and most of the players were looking up to him for leadership.
"Losing someone like Gazza has not been easy and it will take a long time to find a replacement. He had the leadership qualities and had been part of this team for a long time," Murape said.
Murape, the 2007 Soccer Star of Year and a former skipper at Dynamos feels he is also getting a helping hand from current captain Tawanda Muparati in leading their troops.
Muparati plays as an attacking midfielder and opened the scores for Dynamos in their 3-0 win over Lesotho Correctional Services with a stunning long range effort while defender Partson Jaure and Ugandan midfielder Boban Ziruntusa added the other goals. The former Douglas Warriors and Lengthens player, Muparati has a knack of getting important goals for his side as he also found the target during the first leg of the Bob 89 Super Cup against Highlanders.
Patrick Khumbula scored the other goal while Beaven Chikaka pulled one back for Bosso.
"While there are several youngsters, I get a lot of help from Tawanda Muparati in pushing the team. He is the team captain and is a senior player who is also playing very well," said Murape.
A win or draw for Dynamos will see them claiming their second Bob Super Cup after winning the inaugural edition two years ago when they beat CAPS United 3-2 at Rufaro.
Last year, FC Platinum won the cup after beating Hwange 2-0 at the same venue. The pre-season season tournament is part of the celebrations to mark President Robert Mugabe's birthday. President Mugabe turns 89 today. Dynamos will also be using the Bob 89 Super Cup final as part of their preparations for African Champions League's reverse fixture in Maseru.
Meanwhile Dynamos continued to be kept guessing on the availability of striker Fransisco Zekumbawire after the deal to bring him to their camp was not completed yesterday.
Hwange are insisting that they will only allow Zekumbawire to officially join Dynamos once the US$15 000 sale fee has been paid.
Dynamos vice-chairman Webster Chikengezha, said there was still some hope in getting the highly rated forward. "We are almost there is getting him but we just need to work out something. I am hoping that by the end of the week, we should have completed the deal," said Chikengezha.
Last week, Zekumbawire, who feels disfranchised at training with Hwange as he is not in their plans, turned up at Dynamos but could not be cleared to play in the Champions League tie.
Chikengezha, who is also the Dynamos acting secretary-general said they were ready for the Bob 89' Super Cup.
"From the reports that I am getting, everything is well in place for the Bob 89 Super Cup against Highlanders.
"All the guys are well except for Clive Kawinga who is injured," said Chikengezha.
Dynamos could also unleash their newly acquired forward Washington Pakamisa as they asses him.