FC PLATINUM gaffer Norman Mapeza has implored his youthful squad to exert pressure of high proportions on Dynamos in their colossal clash of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League at Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane.
The match kicks of at 1pm.
Having been outwitted 2-0 last weekend by Bulawayo Chiefs, seeds of doubt have been planted in the defending champions, but they will fight to prove that the setback was just but a blip.
FC Platinum offloaded some of their senior players, but Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya is not reading much into that and believes that they are as strong as they were when they claimed the Chibuku Super Cup last year.
Mapeza’s side is renowned for its defensive stealth and cohesion, but after losing last week, Dynamos’ could go into the game believing they can cause more damage to the platinum miners.
Their latest meeting in Zvishavane during the 2019 ended 1-0 in favour of Dynamos, with Junior Selemani scoring the solitary goal.
Mapeza admitted that their game against Dynamos was a big and important one for his team as they looked to bounce back.
“It’s a big game for us as a team. We had a wonderful week of preparation, we don’t have many injuries save for Innocent Mucheneka and Lawrence Mhlanga, who picked up knocks on Wednesday. Everybody else is okay,” the Pure Platinum Play mentor said.
“We are coming from a match where we didn’t get a good result against Chiefs, although we played very well. That game we didn’t lose because of the way we played, but because of other things that are beyond our control.
“Dynamos is a big team in the country and we have massive respect for them. We are hoping for a better result this time and we must apply pressure against them and be ready for the challenge.”
This match will also be an opportunity for Juan Mutudza to showcase his undoubted potential.
Mutudza switched to FC Platinum from Dynamos last month, having struggled to be a regular player in Ndiraya’s team.
When on top of his game, Mutudza is an eye-pleasing footballer, very enjoyable to watch — a classic midfielder with great balance, who can also drop a shoulder and leave defenders chasing shadows.
However, his quality has only been seen in spurts, and will hope to show what he has to offer when at FC Platinum, with this assignment against Dynamos likely to be his rising point.
Mapeza is confident the 24-year old will repay the club’s faith in him.
“Though it’s too early for him, he has to understand the system and how we operate here, but I was happy and I am happy with how he played against Chiefs,” he said.
“It’s going to be a long season, but what is important for him is to adapt as soon as possible so that he doesn’t struggle in the coming matches. Honestly, his performance against Chiefs made me happy as the coach.”
On the other hand, Dynamos are likely to unleash their foreign trio, with Nigerian striker Alex Orotomal believed to be their latest danger man.
As busy as they have been with transfers, the title-chasing giants recruited Orotomal along with Ghanaians striker Emmanuel Paga and attacking midfielder Martin Ofori.
Dynamos also added defender Brendon Mpofu from rivals Caps United, former striker Evans Katema, who had crossed into Zambia and Ralph Kawondera, who joined from FC Platinum.
In this one, Kawondera will also be looking for payback against his former paymasters following a frustrating stay at the club.
Ndiraya is expecting a bruising contest and DeMbare will step into the Mandava greens with their tails up.
“We are expecting a very difficult match against FC Platinum in all aspects. They will be at home, but apart from that, they lost their previous match, so obviously they are going to change a lot of things. We expect those changes to really change the attitude of the team altogether,” he told NewsDay Sport.
“We must remember these are the defending champions, and they won the Chibuku Super Cup as well. All those things can’t vanish overnight because of one defeat to Bulawayo Chiefs. They lost, but they remain a formidable side. We are not reading much into that loss.”