DYNAMOS’ record in the league matches that they have played in Bulawayo this season is horrible.
In their three visits to the country’s second biggest city, they have managed just a point, from a possible nine.
They were beaten 2-0 by Chicken Inn, drew one-all against Gweru-based TelOne, who have shifted base to Bulawayo for their home matches, and also lost 2-0 to Bulawayo Chiefs.
Chiefs’ victory was their first win of the season.
More worrying for Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya is that his side picked red cards in two of those three matches.
Today, they have a chance to exorcise the Bulawayo demons when they face their old rivals Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium, in what would be Dynamos’ last league trip to the City of Queens and Kings this term.
“We have not been really lucky in terms of results in that part of the country and this is our last trip there, and that has been another motivating factor to the boys. You want to end on a high, get good results and what a platform for the players to show the country how much they have progressed as a group; and that they have put behind the results of the past matches,” Ndiraya said.
“We are making sure that they forget (about the past results) the moment they step onto the turf. They should be focussed on the job at hand. Winning that match will erase all the other disappointments that we have had in the last games. We are hoping we can pull a shocker and get a result against one of the biggest teams in the country.”
The two oldest clubs in the county have both had a bad start to their season, as they currently sit on the bottom end of the log standings.
“Of course, they (Highlanders) are struggling. We are also struggling, but in terms of improvement, we are way ahead of Highlanders. We are taking confidence from that fact. It’s always interesting to play Highlanders, especially at Barbourfields Stadium,” Ndiraya said.
“Those are the matches we always look forward to as a club. We have enjoyed some ‘home support’ from our supporters in that part of the country, so we are hoping that we will give something to cheer on Sunday. This is a game which we have really prepared for, because it’s the biggest game on our football calendar wwwlocally.”
Ndiraya has almost everyone available for selection after the return to full fitness of skipper Edward Sadomba and the foreign imports of Herve Mbega, Junior Nkahan and Robert Sackey.
“It’s a game which you don’t have to really motivate the guys because they know what they are supposed to do. That has sort of made our jobs easy this week.
The commitment was just something else. The competition for jerseys was great this week, and we are scratching our heads on who to drop and who to take to Bulawayo,” the Dynamos mentor said.
“It’s a good feeling. It makes my job easier. But we are going to fight to deal with over-excitement because that is what naturally happens when you have players who are eager to play. And sometimes when that happens, there is a risk that some will lose focus and will not perform to the levels that we expect them to.”
Winning the match will be massive for Dynamos, something that Ndiraya said he would emphasise to his players. But there is another message he has been telling his players.
“These are the games you market yourself as a player. It’s a big game which will have a big crowd and to spice it all, it will be on television, so this is the time to shine, to make a mark and make a name. That has been my message to my players,” he said.
Of the two teams, it is Highlanders who have had the worst start, and reports have started to emerge linking technical manager Madinda Ndlovu away from his job.
Ndlovu has reportedly signed a contract with Botswana side Gaborone United. But the Highlanders mentor this week skirted the exit buzz.
Fans have been baying for his blood as their club lurched from one bad result to the other, but if he can guide his side to beat Dynamos, then all his sins will surely be forgiven.
“I am still the Highlanders technical manager. I don’t know where you got that letter from. But I think I will still be around to the end. I doubt if they will fire me,” Ndlovu said.
“I will beat some teams and will start with Dynamos. Highlanders fans have not heard me talk about leaving the club, so for me, it’s one of those stories.”