Chigova vs Mukandi

HARARE - Make no mistake, George Chigova has some improvements to make.

But at a club like Dynamos where patience has very little room, he is likely to be coach Calisto Pasuwa’s number one choice between the sticks in this year.

Chigova, who was brought in as Washington Arubi’s understudy last season, has not been convincing in the DeMbare number 1 jersey in the eyes of many since mid-season when he was handed over the reins.

The 21-year-old goalkeeper came under some heavy criticism for his blunders, in particular against Highlanders, both at Barbourfields and Rufaro.

Chigova allowed what looked like harmless looking shots creep Chigova vs Mukandi into the back of the net on the two occasions to throw Highlanders a lifeline in the title race.

Although Dynamos went on to win the title ahead of Bosso, some diehard Dynamos fans have not forgiven Chigova for those mistakes.

The arrival of Artwell Mukandi from Monomotapa will surely give Chigova’s critics further ammunition to call for his relegation to the bench.

Despite all the criticism he faced last season, Chigova rose above it to help Dynamos to a league and cup double.

In 18 matches, Chigova only conceded eight goals in the process at an average of 0,44 per game.

It is not a disastrous ratio to have for a goalkeeper at a club like Dynamos where there is always pressure to perform.

Some will quickly point that Dynamos had a strong defence that is why he conceded few goals.

From another perspective, it could be the other way round that the defenders performed so well due to the fact that they had a good goalkeeper behind them, who instilled confidence in their play.

Other goalkeepers without character would have buckled and crumbled following those mistakes against Highlanders.

But Chigova raised his game and never put a foot wrong until season end.

Replacing a goalkeeper of Arubi’s calibre was never going to be an easy task and judging by the stats, Chigova performed considerably well.

Pasuwa is definitely aware of the contribution the young goalkeeper made towards DeMbare’s success last season.

On the local scene, Dynamos have bamboozled all the opponents they have come across in the last two years.

But it is in the African Champions League where the club now need to make an impression after two barren years in which they have failed to reach the mini-league stage.

A good goalkeeper will be one component that will be critical in DeMbare’s quest of negotiating some tricky and difficult ties.

Despite his mistakes last season, in his head Pasuwa must be swaying in the direction of Chigova when it comes to who will be the Dynamos first choice goalkeeper in the forthcoming season.

Yes, Chigova has made some notable errors that have cast doubt on his talent since he joined DeMbare. But then what goalkeeper was not without his flaws at the age of 21?

Writing off a player of such a young age, especially when he is a goalkeeper, is not an advisable move.

Ultimately it will be Pasuwa who has to make the decision, but sticking with Chigova seems to be the logical choice at this point.

THE TRANSFER of in-field players may have grabbed much of the Dynamos off-season headlines, but the question of who will grab the number one jersey at the Zimbabwe champions has equally taken centre stage.

With Lesotho Correctional Services awaiting in the preliminary round of the African Champions League and the prospect of meeting tough North African opposition in later qualifying rounds, Dynamos will want to have their safest pair of hands in goals.

The Glamour Boys are spoilt for choice in that department with George Chigova and Artwell Mukandi, both former Zimbabwe youth internationals, in their squad.  

As Dynamos number 1 goalie last season, Chigova put in some very good performances after taking over the shot-stopping responsibilities from Washington Arubi 12 games into the season.

Arubi left the Harare giants to join South African Premiership newcomers University of Pretoria.

Chigova went on to finish the Castle Premiership season with the least number of goals scored against having conceded just eight goals in the 18 games he played.

Mukandi, on the other hand, also had a fine season with Monoz in which he played 22 games, conceding nine goals.

Though Chigova conceded fewer goals as Dynamos last line of defence the former Gunners goalie came under heavy criticism for his inconsistency and failure to marshal his defence with aplomb.

The Glamour Boys’ shot stopper came under-fire for his blunder which allowed Highlanders to score a vital equaliser in the 1-1 draw between the two sides at Rufaro Stadium in a league match back in October.

The 21-year-old goalkeeper misjudged Bosso fullback Bruce Kangwa’s cross-cum-shot and allowed the ball to sneak in at the near post.

Chigova also had the miss-fortune of making a similar mistake in the first round of the Mbada Diamonds Cup.

The tall keeper and his entire defence failed to deal effectively with Wilberforce Chiramba’s long throw-in from the left leaving the ball to fall kindly to an unmarked Nkhulungo, who toe-poked the equaliser at the back.

Though DeMbare went onto to win that match 4-2 on penalties, the some of the club’s faithful also lost faith in the gangly goalkeeper.

Mukandi ,on the other hand, perhaps the unsung hero in Monomotapa’s sensational Mbada Diamonds Cup campaign and fourth place Premiership finish, comes into the Dynamos side the more favourite to land the number one jersey.

Unlike Chigova who had the privilege of a solid defence that came to his rescue countless times, Mukandi was the one rescuing Monoz on numerous occasions.

Dynamos’ unmatched attacking prowess also meant Chigova was never really tested.

With the likes of Simba Sithole, Roderick Mutuma, Martin Vengesai and Denver Mukamba frequently camping in the oppositions half, Chigova was often a mere spectator.

The little times that the centre back pairing of Gift Bello and Partson Jaure did crumble, Chigova was on the majority of occasions found wanting.

In contrast, Mukandi shone like a beacon for Chinomakwa nani with the former Zimbabwe Under-23 player frequently being the difference between a win and a loss.

FC Platinum will quickly want to banish memories of Mukandi, after his heroics foiled their ambitions of progressing to the final of the Mbada Diamonds Cup.

The Zvishavane side fell 1-0 l to Monoz at Sakubva Stadium in November last year following some crucial saves by the University of Zimbabwe undergraduate student who denied Donald Ngoma some clear cut chances.

Mukandi was also outstanding in the Mbada final, despite his side losing 2-0 to Dynamos.

With the Monoz in-field players seemingly out at sea, it ended up being a Mukamba, Sithole and Mutuma versus Mukandi show.

Besides Mukandi’ agility, his vocal ability to organise his defence into shape, a quality rarely seen in Chigova, gives him an edge. - Nigel Matongorere and Farayi Machamire

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