HARARE – Although their side had suffered a third loss inside six league matches this season, Dynamos fans were left speechless after Sunday’s defeat to FC Platinum.
Since their promotion into the top flight in 2011, the platinum miners had always found it difficult on all their visits to Rufaro Stadium to face DeMbare.
The only occasion the Zvishavane-based side emerged from Harare with a point against DeMbare was back in 2013 when they forced a 2-2 draw.
All their other four visits before Sunday had ended in heartache.
However, all that changed when defender Gift Bello rose high to head home a corner kick from full back Elvis Moyo in the first half to give his side a 0-1 win.
And when referee Brighton Chimene blew his whistle to end the match, the Dynamos fans all concurred they had been outplayed by a well-drilled FC Platinum side.
As Norman Mapeza and his players made their way to the changing rooms, they were given a standing ovation by the home side’s supporters. It is very rare for the hugely-demanding DeMbare fans to give their opponents, who would have just outplayed their side on the pitch, a warm reception.
You will have to go back to August 2008 when such a spectacle occurred. It was no ordinary occasion either as Rufaro had witnessed a master class from African football aristocrats.
On that Saturday afternoon, African football legend Mohamed Aboutrika had dominated in the centre of the park to help Al Ahly register a 1-0 win over DeMbare courtesy of a Mohamed Barakat goal.
On Sunday, FC Platinum, who are yet to lose a Castle Lager Premiership match in over a year, taught the fading Harare giants a football lesson.
The Glamour Boys never really got a foothold of the match as a dynamic central midfield duo of Winston Mhango and Tatenda Dzumbunu controlled the game for the visitors. During some periods, it seemed like Dynamos were playing with two players short as Mhango and Dzumbunu easily found space to release their teammates beyond the Glamour Boys’ defence.
The DeMbare fans were perplexed how the platinum miner’s wingers Walter Musona and Rodwell Chinyengetere or even their full backs Elvis Moyo and Ian Nekati seemed to be unmarked all the time they entered the final third.
The home side’s midfielders Stephen Alimenda, Dominic Mukandi, Brett Amidu and Carlos Rusere were second to all the 50-50 balls.
As a result, the DeMbare forwards Roderick Mutuma and Kudzanai Nyakasaka did not have any service except when they had to challenge for long ponderous passes from the back.
The only time the home side really threatened Petros Mhari’s goal was in the second period when Ocean Mushure sent in his trademark in-swinging set pieces or from speculative shots by Mukandi and Amidu from way outside the box.
In the end, the visitors were able to repel the DeMbare pressure to earn three valuable points which brought them back to the top of the log with 16 points.
Mapeza was satisfied with the way his side had handled their business on the field of play and broke their hoodoo of never beating DeMbare in Harare.
“It’s a game of football; this is a new season and things are changing. The most important thing is to keep picking up points and see how the season unfolds,” he said.
“I think it was a game of two halves. The first half we did well and created some good chances but the second half I knew Dynamos were gonna come at us.
“The most important thing is discipline; we have got discipline at the back at that’s what kept us going.”
Indeed his team was disciplined throughout the 90 minutes as they kept their shape while DeMbare huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser.
When Mapeza drove out of Rufaro, his SUV was mobbed by the DeMbare fans as they sang and danced in his praise.
It was not a similar exit for the DeMbare players and executive though. Police had to fire teargas to disperse the agitated fans as they demanded leadership change at the popular Harare club.