Who will triumph?

HARARE - With six games left in the race for the Castle Premiership title, it has become increasingly more likely that the better-equipped coach between Dynamos’ Calisto Pasuwa and Highlanders mentor Kelvin Kaindu will see his team to the finish line come season-end.

As things stand, Pasuwa holds a slight edge in the battle of coaches, with the defending champions leading second-placed Highlanders by two points at a very crucial stage of the season.

Those who have watched the majority of Dynamos matches this season will generally agree that the Glamour Boys have not exactly fired from all cylinders this season.

But therein lies Pasuwa’s strength as a coach. The reserved coach has that unique ability to bring the best out of average players and squeeze every ounce of potential from an otherwise modestly-assembled team.

Dynamos, by their own admission, do not play the best brand of football in the Premiership, but under Pasuwa, they have developed an art of grinding out results and get wins under their belts from the dullest of performances.

The former Glamour Boys’ midfielder has also succeeded in instilling a winning mentality in the team, and these characteristics often manifest themselves after a setback, a fine example being the weekend’s 4-1 demolition of Shabanie Mine hard-on-the-heels of the 1-0 upset by Chicken Inn midweek.

One of Pasuwa’s best attributes is the way he manages his squad. The way he bloodied youngsters like Tichaona Mabvura and Farai Mupasiri into the first XI in the midseason, following the departure of Takesure Chinyama and the loss of form of Rodreck Mutuma, was nothing short of a masterstroke.

More importantly, Pasuwa does have experience on his side, having stolen the league title last season under the noses of FC Platinum. He knows his way around.

On the other hand, Highlanders coach Kelvin Kaindu has popularised the phrase “It shall be well” during his tenure with the Bulawayo giants.

Now with six games remaining in the season and Bosso lying in second position behind log leaders Dynamos, the question is, will his belief be realised by Highlanders finishing in pole position and lifting the championship?

The Zambian gaffer came to Highlanders at the beginning of the season and found a rag tag army made up of players who had been sent out to pasture by other teams.

This state of affairs saw many predicting another disappointing season for Highlanders, but the Tshilamoya have surprised all and sundry by going on a record 23 match unbeaten run that has seen them becoming one of the two frontrunners for the league title.

Kaindu proved them wrong with an attractive brand of football not seen at Barbourfields Stadium in a long while.

Highlanders’s performance can be attributed to the training methods introduced by Kaindu when he took over at the beginning of the season.

The Zambian expat is an ardent believer in small-sided games and this form of training transformed the Bosso players into match winners with a passing game that saw Highlanders outplaying their opponents in the first half of the season.

By the time the second half of the season began, the other teams in the league had caught on to Highlanders style of play.

And a number of teams began to clog the midfield whenever they played against Bosso to stop their build-ups which saw the Bulawayo giants failing to win some matches against lightweights. This allowed the defending champions to play catch up.

The top spot has in recent weeks changed hands between Dynamos and Highlanders, which has served to heighten excitement among football followers in the country.

Discussions among fans are now centred on who will emerge as the champions at the end of the season with focus on the two coaches’ abilities to lead their respective sides to glory.

Highlanders will play Black Mambas (home), Dynamos (away), Buffaloes (home), Hardbody (away), FC Platinum (home) and Blue Rangers (away) in their remaining fixtures of the season.

As one fan aptly put it in one of the social networks, the fact that Highlanders will play Dynamos in one of their forthcoming fixtures means the Bulawayo giants have got to win all their remaining games if they are to win their first title in six years.

The destiny of the league championship is still in their hands. - Enock Muchinjo and Sakheleni Nxumalo

    Post a comment

    Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
    Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
    - Editor

    Your email address will not be shared.