19 June 2017

Zimbabwe: Four-Star Dembare

opinion

Four days have passed, but memories of that five-goal thriller between Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum Stars, the best Castle Lager Premiership game so far this season, have stubbornly refused to be washed away by the passage of time. The National Sports Stadium provided the setting for this showdown, won by the Glamour Boys, and which featured many players and technical staff with a Glamour Boy DNA, one would be forgiven to think this was an in-house Dynamos contest.

And, in the end, the side which the social media whizkids nicknamed Dynamos Urban, the Glamour Boys, emerged triumphant over the team they dubbed Dynamos Rural, Ngezi Platinum.

This match will surely go down as not only the finest in terms of wonder finishes and end-to-end action so far this season, but also rank as one of the liveliest ever since the inception of the local Premiership back in 1993.

The Premiership's chief executive Kenny Ndebele was there to witness this super contest and his wide smile at the end of the match as he exchanged pleasantries with fans, signalled a "thumbs-up" sign for the action.

The visitors, featuring eight former DeMbare players -- Partson Jaure, Godknows Murwira, Dominic Mukandi, Walter Mukanga, Kelvin Bulaji, Tichaona Mabvura, Washington Pakamisa and Qadir Amini in their line-up -- started the match on a whirlwind procession.

It became boldly clear they were passionately intent on stealing the thunder from their more popular adversaries who had the vociferous backing of the majority 5 000 crowd at the giant complex.

With the exciting Terrence Dzvukamanja relishing the acres of space afforded to him on the right wing and orchestrating most of the visitors' forays, it appeared only a question of when his team would get the opening goal.

In that opening quarter, DeMbare 'keeper Tonderayi Mateyunga was certainly the busier of the two goalminders as he kept his side in the match with some crucial saves.

The pace of the platinum miners' exchanges was awesome, but the gritty Glamour Boys held on.

Then, out of nothing, DeMbare -- against the run of play -- mounted a counter raid which took their opponents by surprise as some intelligent one-touch passes eventually found right-wing back Peace Makaha unmarked on the right flank.

The young defender's pinpoint delivery to midfielder Denver Mukamba was struck with reciprocal accuracy past 'keeper Takabva Mawaya as the home side grabbed the lead.

What a splendid move and stupendous finish that was.

Ten minutes later, Ngezi Platinum Stars struck, with their equaliser coming in a somewhat similar fashion as Dzvukamanja -- full of running for the entire evening -- planted his finish after a breathtaking five-man build-up.

And still the glare of this epic battle was far from being finished as we witnessed some fine saves from Mateyaunga and Takabva Mawaya; resolute defending from both sets of rearguard artists (with Dynamos' skipper Ocean Mushure again displaying another vintage performance); colourful exchanges and midfield duels and finally, three more devastating finishes from Artwell Mukandi (Ngezi) and Mushure.

Of course, the best of the lot coming from Cameroonian forward Christian Ntouba Epoupa who almost tore the net with his ferocious winner in the 82nd minute.

It's been almost four days since this match was played but a lot of fans who witnessed this spectacle are still reliving it.

Up to now, I still haven't come up with the outstanding player on the night because every player on that pitch "did come to the party" although the two strongest contenders for that award would be Mushure and Dzvukamanja. A draw would have been the fairest result of this blockbuster of a match but The Glamour Boys and their fans will probably feel they deserved it because they never gave up against all odds.

Are we likely to watch another encounter full of such beauty, venom, style and predatory instincts this season again?

I sincerely hope so though I won't put my money on that.

Zimbabwe

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