DeMbare got stuck in pre-season

HARARE - Last week, I received an email from a soccer-loving Zimbabwean based in Cape Town, South Africa, Elias Nelson, and he was very engaging in the debates he was raising with regards to the state of our football and threw in a few pointers on why our local premiership is regressing — at least according to him — and why it shouldn't be broadcast live on SuperSport. 

Well the official reason why our local football is no longer being broadcast, is because the deal that PSL and SuperSport signed in 2012, expired at the end of last season. Simply that!!!

For now though, Nelson, has had to make do with following his beloved Dynamos via the Internet and social media.

It pains really that we are heading into match day 7 and there seems to be no breakthrough for our local league being broadcast live on television.

The PSL should put itself to purpose and realise that there are millions outside of our borders who follow our league religiously and would want to follow up on the progress of their local teams.

Last time, I raised the issue of how our league has been reduced to a cycle of old players who are “recycling” their old pair of legs from one club to another, a few Dynamos fanatics barraged my inbox telling me how their club needed “experienced” players.

Probably they have a compelling reason for that.

But, if I were Lloyd Mutasa, I would still put my head on the block and stick to my youthful guns, who are all but going through a lean spell and once they strike the right chords, I am sure they will fly.

Mutasa’s fledglings showed it in pre-season and got everyone excited, but we do not have to hark about past moments, do we?

DeMbare — winless in their first six league encounters — with only a single point to show for their sweat — have conjured memories of 2014-15 Manchester United pre-season form under Luis van Gaal.

In the pre-season United beat LA Galaxy 7-0, before again beating AS Roma 3-2. A 0-0 draw against Inter Milan preceded identical 3-1 victories over Real Madrid and Liverpool, before rounding off their pre-season with a 2-1 win over Valencia.

The glory days of Sir Alex Ferguson were seemingly on the horizon after a tumultuous previous season under David Moyes.

I wouldn’t want to revisit how the season turned out but it certainly is one United fans wouldn’t want to be reminded of.

Pre-season, to my understanding, is basically supposed to condition players into match fitness and teams and players alike need not be judged by the way they perform in pre-season matches.

Some of DeMbare’s up-and-coming players were unnecessarily over-hyped, after just two performances in pre-season and now they cannot perform at their maximum best just because of the pressure that comes with the level of expectation that comes with donning the famed blue and white strip especially in high octane games.

Dynamos beat their biggest rivals CAPS United and Highlanders en-route to lifting the ZNA Charity Shield. 

And expectedly this year, Dynamos are supposed to build up on last season’s near-successful campaign in which they missed out on the title to FC Platinum on the very last day of the season.

In football, however, we do not have to be so naive or arrogant to judge a team’s future by pre-season form.

Mutasa though should have identified his team’s weaknesses, work on them but perhaps got carried away with the success of beating CAPS United and Highlanders and thought he had a well-oiled team.

What Mutasa and his technical team might probably need to do is to steal a march on their young players, make them forget about the pre-season hype, get their feet firmly back on the ground and start covering up on the distance opened by log-leaders Ngezi Platinum.

Dynamos fans are firmly stuck in pre-season mode and preparations for their first four matches have been worsened by the absence of forward Christian Ntouba, who was their top goalscorer last season.

Mutasa, ironically seems to have built his team this season around the Cameroonian and to be fair on him, he has been left hamstrung, but unfortunately the tragedy of being a Dynamos coach is always the level of expectations that comes with the job.

Whatever Mutasa tries to do, or whatever he is going to achieve at the club, he will always be judged against the coach who coaxed DeMbare to respectability — Kalisto Pasuwa.

But that should not deflect attention from the current struggles of the Glamour Boys, because it is hard to argue against facts.

While many may point to the NetOne deal, and say Dynamos should pay Ntouba, do this and that, simply throwing money at a problem does not simply steamroll the team back to success. 

Perhaps the use of Kudzanai Dhemere, Blessing Moyo, Valentine Kadonzvo, Tawanda Macheke and Quality Kangadze suggest there is more thought now being given to the mix of players.

Perhaps the Harare giants need rebooting — and against their biggest cross-town rivals CAPS United today, they have a chance of redeeming their failing season with a morale-boosting win.

A loss or another draw will surely set off the alarm in the blue side of the capital.


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