Mukandi on the ropes

HARARE - Dynamos coach Calisto Pasuwa has hinted that under-performing goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi might be dropped to the bench for today’s clash with Bantu Rovers.

The defending Castle Premiership champions are under pressure to collect maximum points to get back to the top of the log.

ZPC Kariba, who beat Harare City 2-3 yesterday, lead DeMbare by goal difference but have played one extra game. 

Mukandi had a nightmare afternoon on Wednesday in DeMbare’s 3-5 win over Harare City at Rufaro Stadium.

Although they were superb strikes, DeMbare fans blamed Mukandi for allowing James Jam and Francisco Zekumbawire’s shots from going.

The former Monomotapa number one made matters worse when he delayed with possession before he was robbed by Zekumbawire to set up a chain of events that led to the awarding of a penalty to Harare City.

Mukandi was making a return to the starting XI since a hip injury he suffered in the league match against Shabanie Mine at the end of September.

In his absence, 18-year-old Tatenda Makuruva stepped up and gave a decent performance before conceding at his near post in the 1-1 draw with Chapungu last week.

The goalkeeper situation at the defending champions is beginning to give Pasuwa sleepless nights towards the title run-in.

“We are very much worried (with conceding three goals)...maybe it is because we have been changing between the two goalkeepers,” said Pasuwa after the win over City.

“Artwell was injured and when the youngster (Mukuruva) conceded the goal in the last game hence we had to change him.

“Today, I saw some of the goals and I thought he (Mukandi) is still not yet fit in the starting line-up.

“I will have to hear from the doctors and will have to see on Sunday.”

It is not only the goalkeeping department alone that has Pasuwa scratching his head but his defence also had a mediocre outing against the sunshine Boys.

Every time Harare city attacked, DeMbare failed to defend with any conviction as they failed to keep Zekumbawire under check.

“Our defending was very porous and we didn’t want to concede the goals,” he said.

“Every time they were getting the ball into our box it was going to hit the back of the net.” 

Today’s match is against a team that has virtually given up any hopes of survival.

Rovers are just one place off the bottom of the log with 24 points with three games to go before the end of the season.

Tshintsha Guluva, however, remains a dangerous side despite their troubles at the bottom of the log.

In midweek, Rovers handed Chapungu their first home defeat of the season at Ascot Stadium and Pasuwa is well aware of the danger they pose. 

“We have to take this game seriously. Everyone in the team must take these games against small teams seriously,” he said.

“Remember the game we played against Chapungu, you could see in the first 45 minutes the boys thought it was going to be easy for us to win but we couldn’t breach them.

“We ended up drawing that game and I’m saying to players that every game that comes, we have to take it seriously, it doesn’t matter if it against a team that has been relegated already.”

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