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DeMbare surrender championship race

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DeMbare

DYNAMOS DeMbare has surrendered their pursuit for the championship this season and will be happy if they can finish in the top four, a member of the team’s technical team has said.

The Harare giants, the most successful football club in the country, have had a bad start to the season and after 19 games, they are 10th on the log standings.

DeMbare has accumulated just 22 points and are a massive 23 behind log leaders and defending champions FC Platinum.

It has been a terrible campaign for the club, who have been defeated seven times this term, one more than they lost their entire season last year when they went on to finish second, beaten to the crown by just two points.

They were widely expected to improve from that showing, with many tipping them to win the league this season.

But things have gone horribly wrong this far. It appears DeMbare has not recovered from a chaotic pre-season that was caused by a player mutiny, in protest over unpaid signing on fees and winning bonuses.

Team manager Richard Chihoro yesterday told NewsDaySport that dreaming about winning the championship this season would be a wild fallacy.

Their best bet, according to Chihoro, will be to finish in a “respectable fourth position

“Let’s be realistic, we can’t talk of winning the championship. The season hasn’t gone well like we had planned. The gap that has formed between us and the top team is too big,” Chihoro said.

“We cannot fool ourselves to say we still have a chance (to win the league). This season, we can’t, we will try next season.

The target now is to finish in a respectable position, and if we can finish fourth, we would have achieved considering where we are currently.”

It has been chaotic in the Dynamos dressing room, with members of the technical team, including Chihoro and coach Lloyd Mutasa, being shown the exit door on different occasions, before they were both recalled.

A number of senior players have also left, leaving huge voids behind that the club has failed to fill.

Star striker Christian Ntouba, the man who single-handedly carried the team last season, was frustrated out after the team failed to pay his signing-on fee and allowances.

Midfielder Tichaona Chipunza felt his services could be appreciated better elsewhere and he joined Ngezi Platinum at the start of the season, while Raphael Manuvire only spent six months at the club and he was fed up.

Skipper Ocean Mushure, who led the pre-season strike, has been in and out of the team this season due to problems related to his unpaid allowances and signing-on fees.

And all the difficulties culminated in club president Keni Mubaiwa throwing in the towel last month as problems mounted and the season wheel into an irretrievable nosedive.

But Chihoro believes the club has turned the corner.

The arrival of a new executive, led by long-serving benefactor Solomon Sanyamandwe, appears to have settled things a bit.

Their performance on the field of play has also improved, in particular, their showing against Chicken Inn in their first game from the mid-season break a fortnight ago.

They were unfortunate to share the spoils in that match after allowing a late equaliser and they also showed some grit to come from behind and forced a draw in Maglas last week.

Tomorrow, they have a big test when second-placed Ngezi Platinum Stars arrive at Rufaro Stadium for the headline match of the day.

“There will be war,” declared Chihoro. “We know Ngezi are a very good side and all the games we have played them have been very entertaining.

This should not be any different, and we expect DeMbare fans to come in their numbers.”

A $5 entry fee for the cheapest ticket, pegged for this match, could prove a huge hindrance for the two teams’ supporters, who could have wanted to watch this one.

The teams have met five times since Ngezi Platinum made their grand entry into the top flight three seasons ago, including a five-goal thriller at the National Sports Stadium last season when a Ntouba inspired Dynamos won 3-2.

Interestingly, Dynamos have not lost to Ngezi at home, winning both games in the two team’s only meetings in Harare.

Ngezi has also utilised their home ground well when playing against Dynamos, winning twice and drawn one against their more fancied opponents in Mhondoro Ngezi.

Mutasa expects his team’s good home run against Ngezi Platinum Stars to continue tomorrow.

Mushure is unlikely to feature tomorrow, having only returned to the fold this week while Ngezi will begin life without their star man, Terrence Dzvukamanja, who has joined South African premier league side Bidvest Wits.
NewsDay

SPORTS

Highlanders’ Apology for Fan Misconduct in Abandoned Dynamos Fixture

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Highlanders Football Club has issued a sincere apology to the Zimbabwean football community following the crowd skirmishes that occurred during the high-profile premiership fixture against their archrivals Dynamos. The incident happened just 33 minutes into the game at Barbourfields Stadium, where the Bulawayo club was trailing by two goals. Fans stormed the pitch, protesting against the referring decisions that were perceived to be unfavourable to their team.

The police were overwhelmed by the advancing football hooligans, forcing them to retreat. Some fans were injured during the skirmishes, and vehicles were damaged as the police fought running battles with fans outside the stadium.

In a statement released on Monday, the Highlanders Football Club condemned the unsporting behaviour of the fans who caused the abandonment of the match. The club executive stated that they would be heavily fined for the mayhem, and the points would be awarded to Dynamos on a 3-0 scoreline as per the norm with abandoned matches.

The statement read, “Highlanders Football Club is deeply saddened by the crowd trouble that led to the abandonment of our league match against Dynamos FC at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday. The club condemns the unsporting behaviour that negatively profiles Zimbabwean football as a brand. It is sad to witness such ugly scenes at a family sports event, especially at a time when the club, together with other stakeholders, is working tirelessly to bring fans back into the stadiums and convincing the corporate world that sport, in general, and football, in particular, is worth their support.”

Highlanders apologised to all its stakeholders, especially sponsors, partners, and innocent football-loving fans who were affected by the acts of a few selfish individuals who care less about the growth of their clubs and football in general. They also prayed for those who were injured and wished them a speedy recovery. The club also urged stakeholders to work together to find a lasting solution to hooliganism in football stadiums.

This is not the first time in two seasons that a match involving the two most followed clubs has been abandoned due to crowd trouble. Another fixture was abandoned in May last year when both sets of fans invaded the pitch. Highlanders celebrated an unorthodox celebration for a 93rd-minute finish by Washington Navaya that broke the deadlock, while Dynamos fans were protesting a referring decision over an incident leading to the goal.

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Zimbabwean youngster Jimiel Chikukwa has joined English National League side FC Halifax Town

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Zimbabwean youngster Jimiel Chikukwa has joined English National League side FC Halifax Town following his release by Championship side Watford.

The 20-year-old forward was unveiled by Halifax Town last week. ”We are pleased to announce that FC Halifax Town has signed Jimiel Chikukwa, who was recently released from Championship team Watford”. Chikukwa started his career in the Leeds United academy when he was only 13 years old. However, he decided to join Watford’s academy in the summer of 2021 when his contract with Leeds expired.

During his time with Watford, Chikukwa was loaned to Maidstone United in the National League South for the second half of the 2021/22 season. Although the Stones won the National League South, Chikukwa only made one league appearance before returning to Watford at the end of the season.

Town boss Chris Millington is optimistic about the future of new signing Jimiel Chikukwa.

Millington expressed, “He is a young and thrilling player who needs to demonstrate his abilities in senior games. However, he has shown tremendous potential, and we believe he will be an exceptional player for our team in the future.” Millington also mentioned that Chikukwa is versatile and can play in various positions, including anywhere in the front three and as an attacking wing-back.

We think he could pose a danger when playing as a number nine, but he could also be a threat when positioned on either wing. In our current formation, he might even excel as an attacking wing-back, similar to Angelo Cappello.

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Reims secures first win with Munetsi scoring his first goal

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Zimbabwe international Marshall Munetsi has expressed his delight after scoring his first goal of the season to inspire Stade de Reims to their first win of the season following a 2-0 victory against Clermont Foot in the second round of the French Ligue 1 on Sunday.

The 27-year-old midfielder was instrumental in ensuring Reims got its first win of the season after breaking the deadlock with a header in the 17th minute.

Denmark international Mohamed Daramy, a new signing from Ajax, added a second goal by converting a low cross from Junya Ito in the 84th.

Munetsi, who is flourishing in a more advanced role at Reims, had several opportunities to double his tally.

Probably his best chance of securing a brace came in the 76th minute when the Clermont goalkeeper Mory Diaw produced a double save to deny the Zimbabwe international what looked like a certain goal.

In the end, it was a successful day for Munetsi as he continued his solid start to the season by scoring a crucial goal to follow up on his contribution on the opening day of the season when he registered an assist during the 2-1 loss against Marseille in the first round of the season.

Afterwards, Munetsi took to social media to praise his teammates for putting on a solid display to register their first win of the campaign in their second match.

Great team performance @StadeDeReims to get our first win of the season at home. We keep going,” Munetsi said.

The former Orlando Pirates player is expected to play an important role for the Zimbabwe Warriors when they return to international football later this year in the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers.

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