THE script for today’s Mbada Diamonds Cup final at the National Sports Stadium does not ask for a dramatic potential with recently crowned league champions, Dynamos clashing with BancABC Sup8r victors, Motor Action.
Dynamos and Motor Action can already claim to be the genuine articles, the top dogs of Zimbabwe’s top flight football after having shared the other major competitions.
But all that is history today is a different ball game altogether as both teams will be seeking to emerge as the most successful team of 2011.
Even though, Dynamos and Motor Action have had successful seasons, it is the outcome of today’s final at the amphitheatre of football in Harare that will determine how fondly the 2011 campaign will be remembered by each set of fans.
Dynamos are the favourites to ride into the sunset with a double as they are on-form team and possess star quality with Murape Murape, Denver Mukamba, Archford Gutu, Roderick Mutuma, Cuthbert Malajila, Washington Arubi, Guthrie Jokinyu and George Magariro ranked as being among the best players in the land.
All these players can combine to devastating effect with Murape, Malajila, Mutuma, Mukamba and Gutu having an unparalleled telepathic relationship that gives them the privilege to slice through defenses like a hot knife through butter. Their scintillating performances in the second half of the season left opponents and observers bewildered.
Some fans obviously overcome with ecstasy have gone further to conclude that this Dynamos is the best club of all that. In reality the current crop of players cannot untie the shoelaces of previous vintage teams as they lack the class and finesse associated with the Glamour Boys.
But while they this team lacks the buccaneering style of the George Shaya, Moses Chunga, Tauya Murewa and Memory Mucherahowa, Justice Majabvi legendary teams, it has shown a willpower to overcome any obstacle if faces.
Dynamos have a formidable formula of defensive solidity exemplified by the almost impenetrable combination of Jokinyu and Magariro. Whenever one of the two is injured, substitute Gift Bello has proved to be a perfect replacement. Tawanda Muparati, Leo Kurauzvione and Milton Makopa have taken turns to prove that Dynamos are spoilt for choice when it comes to defensive midfielders with rearguard actions that have neutralised many potent midfields.
Last time they met in a league match, Motor Action gave up on the title chase as they lost by two goals to nil and Antipas attributed that loss to the absence of Young Warriors right-back Passmore Bernard and Reuben Machaya through suspension.
In that match, Motor Action had defensive headaches as Godfrey Moyo who usually partners Themba Ndlhovu in central defense was pushed to the right while Norman Njelele who has not seen much of the game this season was called from the wilderness and thrown at centre back.
Earlier in the season Motor Action beat Dynamos by a similar score-line but all that is history. This is a different ball game altogether, history counts for naught here, what matters is today not what happened in the days of yore.
This time Motor Action have no injury and suspension worries, they have a full squad complement. Left-back Ocean Mushure who fought a lone battle last time the two sides met will have to be ruthless down the flank this time around if he harbours another winners’ medal on his neck.
With the central defensive pair of Godfrey Moyo and Themba Ndlhovu united again to shut out Dynamos’ raids together with shot-stopper and captain Marlon Jani, Mushure and right-back Passmore Bernard, will be expected to play a roving game, to supply those deadly crosses that were never were last time. If that happens, the Dynamos defense will have to be at its best otherwise after last Sunday’s league jubilation, they will cry us a river at sunset.
Midfield maestro Allan Gahadzikwa will have to undo himself and conduct a masterful footballing opera that he has never before if he wants to make light weight of the Dynamos midfield. He has done it before and if the gods are on his side this afternoon his side will get the $75 000 cheque.
But if there is a player who has the potential to be the general in Motor Action’s midfield it is Conrad Whitby – it’s a pity he is always deployed on the flank. Supersport pundit Alois Bunjira and those who have played with and against Whitby testify that if he is in central midfield he passes the ball like no other.
Isaac Masame who has been one of the stand-out players at Motor Action offers the team speed and intensity in midfield. He has been outstanding through out the tournament and that is exemplified by the screamer of a goal he scored against Blue Ribbon to send Motor Action to the semi-finals.
If the midfield clicks the strike-force of Tawanda Ushe and Kudakwashe Musharu which lacked the cutting edge to trouble Dynamos will have no excuse if it conspires to be anonymous again. Otherwise Tawanda Nyamandwe and the fit again Enasio Perezo will be called upon to turn the game on its head.
Of the two, Perezo is the most capable, as he has shined when called upon. He is a fox in the box and Dynamos are well aware of that as he has won previous clashes for Motor Action against them.
However the match will not only be a battle for supremacy between the two talented sides. It will also be a brilliant and witty battle between two great strategists, Callisto Pasuwa and Joey Antipas. While Pasuwa edges out Antipas in terms of their football careers, Antipas surely knows the ins and outs of the league’s most elite cup competition. Antipas has installed a fearless attitude in Motor Action and their compact game is a treat to watch.
For Dynamos, Pasuwa has proved to be the most effective weapon that they have since he replaced Lloyd Mutasa when the team was on its knees and managed to launch an unrelenting and amazing pursuit of the league when most had given up on the Dynamos ghost. He won nine games, drew one and lost one out of 11 on his way to league glory. Betting against such a motivator and inspirational coach is risky business.
The same can be said of Antipas as he has transformed Motor Action from being a middle tier team to one of the giants in the league. Unlike Pasuwa, who inherited a well-oiled machine, the vastly more experienced Antipas, built Motor Action from scratch and is confident that he has hatched a plan to make sure Dynamos don’t turn Harare into a disco two weeks in a row.
In a capsule, there is literally no bigger event in Zimbabwe today than the Mbada Diamonds Cup final. It will not change your life but it makes this Sunday relevant and interesting for local football lovers.