DYNAMOS have finally listened to the voice of reason and decided against using Christian Ntouba in the Big Harare Derby against Caps United set for Rufaro Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
BY HENRY MHARA
The striker was shown a red card for head-butting Highlanders defender Peter Muduhwa, in the dying moments of the two teams’ gutsy clash last Sunday – leaving the Cameroonian suspended for two matches including the one against their fiercest rivals this weekend.
However, the country’s football mother body Zifa controversially nullified the red card on Monday after an appeal by Dynamos.
But the Premier Soccer League, an affiliate of Zifa, on Tuesday declared that the referee’s decision to send off Ntouba for violent conduct still stands, leaving Dynamos in a fix.
The shocking decision by Zifa to rescind Ntouba’s card received a lot of criticism from football stakeholders, some who suggested that the mother body, was trying to aid Dynamos to win the league title this year.
The Harare giants, who had initially said they would follow Zifa’s decision, appeared to have buckled under pressure and yesterday said they had decided against using the player.
“He is not playing on Sunday. Even the coaches are preparing without him,” said Dynamos secretary-general Webster Marechera.
Club coach Lloyd Mutasa on Thursday had told NewsDay that the uncertainty over the availability of his top marksman had negatively affected his preparations for what promises to be a crucial match for Dynamos in their quest to win the league title they last won in 2014.
Ntouba is one of the three regular Dynamos players who will sit out of the match against Caps United.
Defender Lincoln Zvasiya and midfielder Tichaona Chipunza, who has played in all the team’s league matches so far, are suspended for accumulating yellow cards.
The duo’s absence will give a chance to Obey Mwerahari and Marshall Machazane to get some game time, the two failing to break back into the first team after recovering from injuries.
But it is the absence of Ntouba that the club is likely to rue the most, as he has been the major source of goals for the club this year.
His brace decided the two teams’ reverse fixture a fortnight ago, and has scored a total 12 goals to top the goalscoring chart. Youngster Tawanda Macheke is odds on favourite to start as the point person in the DeMbare attack tomorrow.
Caps United are also missing an integral player for the match in Valentine Musarurwa, due to suspension.
The Green Machine will be looking to get one back at their rivals, with a win, and will be looking to their star striker Dominic Chungwa, who missed the reverse fixture due to suspension, for inspiration.
Lloyd Chitembwe’s side are out of the race for the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League title, but this match remains of paramount importance to them considering they can railroad Dynamos’ charge.
Derby bragging rights should drive Caps United when they face DeMbare tomorrow, but for Mutasa’s side the pressure is on as they have to collect maximum points to enhance their chances of winning the league title.
Sport – NewsDay Zimbabwe