For the past decade, Dynamos have enjoyed supreme Premier Soccer League dominance over their sworn-enemies Highlanders.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
That has thrown this afternoon’s Castle Lager PSL clash between the traditional giants at the National Sports Stadium into a potentially stormy affair.
With Highlanders arriving at the stadium yet to be beaten this season, focus has been on their capability to halt Dynamos’ hegemony.
Interest is also on DeMbare’s ability to continue bullying their foe upon whom they have prevailed over seven times, drawn nine matches with and lost four games to since 2004.
Those 10 years has seen Dynamos finishing in the top two for the past seven seasons while bagging the league title four times and scoring 22 goals past Bosso while conceding 14 in the process.
Within that period, Highlanders have finished as runners-up on four occasions where they have played bridesmaid to Dynamos thrice with one league title in their cabinet.
The year 2007 marked the beginning of Dynamos’ meanness.
It was a season after Highlanders had completed a double over them to record their last victory over Dynamos and claim their last league title.
But veteran midfielder Stephen Alimenda, who has been the most consistent player at Dynamos this term, is refusing to buy into the statistics.
“This is a new game and we want to win,” he said.
“But history will not help us. Look at Spain at the World Cup. Who expected that they would go home early? Being defending champions comes with a lot of pressure. Every game is tough for us because everyone wants to beat us.”
Alimenda, a veteran of many fierce battles, knows exactly how Highlanders feel after shedding sweat in vain against Dynamos during his three seasons he was at Bosso.
His time at Highlanders from 2008 to 2010 yielded four wins for Dynamos while the other two matches ended in similar 1-1 draws.
With his consistency slowly propping him up to a career best form he enjoyed at Highlanders which earned him a national team dance against Brazil in 2010, Alimenda dismisses personal glory.
“I know I was at my career best while at Highlanders but it has been long since I left them. I will just play my normal game on Sunday [today] like I am facing any other team. It is not good for people to point at one player that he is good when the team is struggling. Football is all about teamwork.”
Dynamos welcome the returning duo of Tawanda Muparati and Devon Chafa while Tafadzwa Rusike and Walter Mukanga have been ruled out due to injuries.
But Alimenda feels they have to put behind them the absence of his midfield colleague Rusike and focus on the assignment at hand.
“The game itself is self-motivating,” said Alimenda.
“Both teams have good chances of winning though. It is not going to be an easy match for us, so hard work is required. We have an extra home advantage although there is a little bit of pressure from our expectant fans. We just have to be on top of the situation from the first whistle and not allow them to come at us.”
Highlanders arrived in Harare yesterday without injured winger Rahman Kutsanzira.
Captain Innocent Mapuranga quickly declared war on Dynamos and wants to end the dominance by Kalisto Pasuwa’s men.
“We will be playing for maximum points,” said Mapuranga.
“I know they have been the better side for the recent past years but we do not read much into history. We do not mind that we are playing away because what matters most to us is grabbing three points,” he said.