I AM neither a prophet nor a fortune teller, but I would like to rely on my science and mathematics and declare that this season’s league championship will be won by Dynamos again. An analysis of Dynamos’ last six matches in the past three seasons tells you a story of invincibility on the team’s side. And to say that era has coincided with Callisto Pasuwa’s reign tells a story about their relationship. In all the seasons that Pasuwa has been in charge at Dynamos, the team haven’t lost a game in their last six fixtures. In 2013, they won three and drew three, in 2012 they won four and drew two and in 2011 they won five and drew one. Already Dynamos have won one of their last six fixtures, 1-0 over Moses Chunga’s Buffaloes. That on its own was record breaking since as I was told by Buffaloes’ vice-chairman, Francis Mabika that that was DeMbare’s first win in Sakubva in close to a decade. A look at the top three teams’ remaining fixtures paints a picture favourable to the Glamour Boys. Although Dynamos’ next five fixtures are not easy, they are not the most difficult. They will not lose even one game, maybe drop points but still have enough to be champions. Chapungu, Harare City, Bantu Rovers, ZPC Kariba and How Mine will provide the opposition. These are all Harare fixtures because their two away fixtures are against Harare City and ZPC Kariba. At the beginning, analysts had predicted that Dynamos would struggle this season because of more than usual away-from-Harare games.
Now, five games to go, Dynamos find themselves with all their remaining fixtures in the capital. The fact that they have to play their nearest title contenders, ZPC, puts fate in their own hands. If Dynamos beat ZPC, they are as good as home and dry. ZPC humiliated Dynamos in the first round. That alone will make this game a must-win for Pasuwa and his charges. DeMbare will win against Bantu Rovers, Chapungu, ZPC Kariba and How Mine. The Harare City game would be a draw. It’s a tough call but Dynamos’ have the mettle to do it and have proved it in the last three seasons. ZPC and CAPS’ remaining fixtures also favour Dynamos. Besides playing against each other, they both have to face the resurgent FC Platinum, Buffaloes and Harare City. These three teams still have a chance, albeit an one for the latter two, of finishing in the top four, something that gives a ticket to the Mbada Diamonds Cup. CAPS will face Triangle in Chiredzi and the Sugar Sugar Boys are involved in the relegation matrix and that makes them a dangerous opponent. ZPC have a date against CAPS and Dynamos, along the way. The reverse fixture results of the top three teams’ remaining five fixtures also favour Dynamos.
CAPS managed five points, ZPC and Dynamos nine. If they all get the same results Dynamos would be champions. Then, we have the coaches’ pedigree. Only Pasuwa has been crowned champion as the head coach. He didn’t achieve this feat once or twice but three times in succession. He is now used to winning the league title. And all those seasons, it was by goal difference, something nerve-wrecking, making him a master of emotions when the title race hots up. Taurai Mangwiro’s love-hate relationship with the CAPS fans, who don’t know how to appreciate good things, might be his undoing. Any slip-up will result in them calling for his head. CAPS’ financial woes might also prove to be a tough hurdle. It’s obvious that when the season is coming to an end players tend to demand immediate salary and winning bonuses payments. On top of that they also ask for extra incentives. Now, that’s money that CAPS don’t have. And the lack of loyalty and discipline among their players might spell doom for the team. As for ZPC, besides being financially stable, a recent camping venue rift might be a tip of the iceberg on bigger issues likely to blow out any time. Such incidents normally happen when there are parties fighting over their role in the team’s glory. It’s egoistic, childish and pathetic. And it has huge effects on the team. While Dynamos is not stable, it has managed to survive and succeed in such environments. The last cog in the matrix are the players. ZPC Kariba boost of experienced players brought in from different clubs. They are battle-hardened and have proved to be worthy fighters this season.
However, their relationship with their coach, inexperienced with battles at this juncture, might be their undoing. Senior players tend to have big egos when their team is successful. They overrate their importance and undermine everyone else. CAPS players have proved to be effective when they are focussed. However, when they lose their focus they have lost big time. They have also proved to be less loyal and less disciplined compared to those of the other two teams. Dynamos’ players are battle-hardened and experienced for such title race battles. More than 50 percent of their players have been involved in a title race and won at either Dynamos or some other team. They have at some point lived through the motions. It is also interesting to note that Dynamos last lost a league match during Week 11, a 0-1 loss to Hwange at the Colliery. They have gone for 14 matches unbeaten in the league. Although their strike rate has been poor this season, their defence has remained mean conceding only 12 times in the league so far, that is a rate of one goal conceded per two games. ZPC has let 17 and CAPS 21. I can’t see this race going any other way and Dynamos won’t need goal difference to win it.