Chipunza lauds DeMbare teammates

HARARE - Despite the disappointment of missing out on the Castle Lager Premiership title, Dynamos midfielder Tichaona Chipunza is pleased with the mettle shown by the Glamour Boys in the just-ended 2017 season.

DeMbare started the pre-season by releasing a number of their senior players from the 2016 season.

This saw the likes of Roderick Mutuma, Stephen Alimenda, Sydney Linyama and Jacob Muzokomba all exiting the club.

Brett Amidu (FC Platinum), Godknows Murwura, Dominic Mukandi (Ngezi Platinum Stars) decided to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

With such a high turnover of players that had been key to the side, many people expected the Glamour Boys to struggle.  

Coach Lloyd Mutasa, to his credit, assembled a young side made up of mainly unknown upstarts that somehow punched above their weight to push for the league title that they narrowly lost to FC Platinum on the very last day of the season.

Skipper Ocean Mushure and Cameroonian import Christian Ntouba, provided the experience as DeMbare went on to finish the season in second-place just two points behind champions FC Platinum.

While Ntouba and Mushure grabbed all the headlines, it was Chipunza, who was the unsung hero who did all the donkey work in midfield.

The former Triangle man was a regular feature in the Dynamos line-up and missed only just one game through suspension.

When Dynamos were in possession, he was the one tasked to turn defence into attack by combing the midfield with the attackers.

“I must admit that this was my best season ever. I played 33 matches which I think is a record in the history of local football,” Chipunza told the Daily News on Sunday.

“It was really a season to remember especially for me, I enjoyed my game like never before. We were a relatively new team when the season started. Very few gave us a chance to do well but we surprised them.

“We had a slow start but once we found our groove, we went on to fight for the title. Overall, it was a good season; I think we did our best.

“We even had a chance to win the championship but we let ourselves down in some few matches especially towards the end of the season.

“But of course we are not mourning about it. We want to come back stronger next season. If we can continue from where we left this season I don’t see anyone stopping us from winning the title next season.”

Despite being one of the standout performers in the 2017 season, Chipunza was sadly not among the best XI players on the Soccer Star of the Year calendar.

The midfielder is hoping to use the omission to inspire him to perform even better next season.

“Of course as a player you always want to be among those recognised as the best but it was not the case with me this season,” Chipunza said.

“I have since challenged myself to work even harder next season so that probably I can earn a place on the calendar. In fact I’m actually happy for my teammates Ocean and Ntouba they deserved a place there.

“They have been leading by example throughout, scoring some important goals for us which carried us all the way.”

Chipunza also took time to praise his coach Mutasa who he feels is one of the best in the Premiership.

“Father (Mutasa) for me is one of the best coaches I have ever worked with. He allows players to express themselves freely,” he said.

“He brought in so many things that enabled us to win matches. He instils confidence in players. Working with Father is one easy thing and we enjoyed it a lot. I am sure he will take the club to the next level in the seasons to come.”