Mutuma revels in glory

HARARE - Rodreck Mutuma has expressed relief at ending the season on a high note after netting a brace in Dynamos’ Mbada Diamonds Cup final victory over Monomotapa on Saturday, but claims his form in the just-ended season was never a concern.

Mutuma — who had an indifferent season compared to last year and was in and out of the Dynamos lineup — told the Daily News yesterday that retaining the league and cup double was all that mattered to him, and saluted his teammates for an all-conquering season.

The tall and gangly striker came off the bench for most of the season, only to claw his way back into the starting XI as the season came down the homestretch.

Mutuma, however, insisted he was fully prepared to play the role of an impact player late in the second half.

“That was the coach’s strategy, and it worked well, I didn’t regard it as losing my place as such,” said Mutuma.

“I actually enjoyed it because each time I came in, I made a difference. I chose to see the positive side of it. I was happy with that role. Besides, when I was on the bench the team was winning anyway, which is far more important because it’s about the team, not individuals.”

The former Sporting Manhenga forward, whose 13 goals last season won him the Castle Premiership Golden Boot accolade, attributed the Glamour Boys’ successful defence of their league title to focus on the job at hand.

 “(Runners-up) Highlanders played some very good football in the season, but we were not worried about them. All we were concentrating on was our next game and how we were going to win it. We were more worried about ourselves and our own game; that is what the coach told us. That’s how we won the title.”

Successfully retaining the title, Mutuma said, is a cause for great pride and celebration for the 19 times Zimbabwean champions.

 “It shows that we are the best,” he said. “It’s easier to win a title but harder to retain it because everyone would have studied how you play so it’s easier for them to beat you.”

Mutuma also paid tribute to coach Calisto Pasuwa for quickly filling the void left by free-scoring striker Takesure Chinyama following his mid-season switch to Orlando Pirates.

“We initially struggled, but we told ourselves we had to move on. Losing your talisman is never easy. We adjusted quickly. Simba (Sithole)’s arrival made a huge difference.

He is a good team man and works very hard. He is the kind of player every coach wants on his team list and every player wants as a teammate.”

Mutuma has meanwhile refused to speculate over his future after the off-season break, saying he was already looking ahead to 2013 and helping Dynamos to an improved African Champions League campaign next season.

“Right now all I am thinking of is the off-season break and staying in shape,” Mutuma said.

“After that, who knows what the future holds? I am already looking ahead to next season with Dynamos and doing well in the Champions League because what happened this year was an embarrassment to the nation,” he said referring to Dynamos’ 6-0 hammering by Tunisia giants Esperance in June.

Early this year, Mutuma had trials at Ajax Cape Town in South Africa, where he reportedly failed to make the grade. According to sources, the Absa Premiership side has revived interest in the DeMbare forward, while other South African clubs might come knocking in January’s mid-season transfer window to bolster their attacking options.   

With more than a few of Dynamos’ leading players expected to make the great trek down south in the off-season, Mutuma singled out rookie forward Farai Mupasiri as a potential match-winner if a new era is to dawn at DeMbare.   

Ironically, it was the 22-year-old former Zimbabwe youth rugby international who relegated Mutuma to the bench in the last half of the season.

 “That youngster is a star,” Mutuma praised Mupasiri. “He has everything; speed, power, shots. He can do the job. He has rescued us before with some crucial goals. Everyone has a lot of confidence in him.”

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