No Christian for DeMbare
Dynamos striker Christian Ntouba did not travel with his team to Bulawayo for their opening Castle Lager Premier Soccer League clash against Chicken Inn today, in protest over outstanding fees he is owed by the club.
The Cameroonian is owed $16 000, that includes part of his signing-on fees and unpaid allowances from last season. He missed training in the past few days to force the team to come to the negotiating table, but after the club managemet failed to provide a clear payment plan, Ntouba decided to take the radical stance.
Club coach Lloyd Mutasa confirmed yesterday that his main striker had remained behind in Harare, but said his absence will not dampen the team’s spirits, as they look to make a bright start to their campaign against their bogey side.
“Chicken Inn have proved to be our bogey side in the past and I know it will be a tough encounter, but we are ready for the challenge. It’s a very important game for us and we would want to see what we have been preparing being executed. We have done our homework and are looking forward to the match,” he said.
Mutasa is not shot of fire power though, even in the absence of Ntouba, as youngsters Tawanda Macheke and Quality Kangadze have been impressive in the pre-season games they have played.
Mutasa have been using two distinct squads in the pre-season, one comprising youngsters who have impressed every time they were given a chance, and the other with veterans. It is not clear which team he will field this afternoon.
Chicken Inn have dominated Dynamos in the past, but they fared badly against the Harare giants last season, drawing their home fixture before losing the reverse fixture in Harare.
Returning coach Joey Antipas, who led the team to the title three years ago, is cautious.
“It’s too early for us to play Dynamos, but we are ready. Our preparations have been low-key although I think we did well in the games that we played. Dynamos have been using a lot of youngsters and will be blending that with experience just like us. They almost won the league last year, so they will obviously want to continue from where they left last year,” Antipas said.
The GameCocks will be counting on the experience of midfielder Clemence Matawu and striker Obadiah Tarumbwa to win the match.
They have brought into the squad Simon Munawa as well defenders Xolani Ndlovu, Kudzai Chideu and striker Obriel Chirinda.