Dynamos without top striker as league action resumes

DYNAMOS coach Lloyd Mutasa is exuding confidence ahead of their opening Castle Larger Premiership tie against Chicken Inn at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.

This is despite the absence of his leading marksman Christian Ntouba Epoupa due to a still unresolved contractual dispute with the club.

Although Mutasa acknowledged it would be a tough encounter, with his charges having suffered defeats to the Gamecocks before, he maintained they were looking forward to the challenge.

“Chicken Inn are our bogey side and I know it will be a tough encounter, but we are ready for the challenge,” said Mutasa.

“It’s a very important game where what we have been doing in our preseason preparations will be reflected.

“We have done our home-work and are looking forward to the match.”

Dynamos were handed back-to-back defeats by Chicken Inn in 2016 losing 3-0 in Bulawayo in the first encounter before suffering a 2-3 defeat at home.

However, last term they managed to overcome the Gamecocks 1-0 with the other encounter ending goalless.

With Joey Antipas, who won the league championship with the Bulawayo side, now back in charge after a stint in South Africa, it points to a potentially explosive encounter on Saturday.

For their part, Dynamos have declared that they want to surpass the achievement of last term when they finished as runners up to FC Platinum.

Still grounded … Dynamos striker Christian Ntouba Epoupa

But they face the prospect of playing without their top marksman Christian Ntouba Epoupa who is battling with the club hierarchy to try and get his outstanding dues amounting to $16,000 including signing on fees as well as salaries and allowances.

Mutasa said they were hoping the issue would be resolved before they embark on the trip to Bulawayo.

“He (Epoupa) has been training and is looking sharp. We are just praying that his issue with management will be resolved before we go to Bulawayo,” said Mutasa.

Epoupa was influential in Dynamos’ championship bid last term, contributing 12 goals to earn a place on the Soccer Stars of the Year calendar.

He had the second highest individual goals tally in the league after Dominic Chungwa.

Mutasa also said they were happy with former Harare City striker Kuda Kumwala whom they have been assessing and had since recommended to management to sign on.

“We have always known Kuda and judging from what we have seen at training, we are happy with him.

“We would want him to be part and parcel of this squad and its now left to the executive to agree terms with the player,” said Mutasa.

The Dynamos coach said apart from Emmanuel Mandiranga and Peace Makaha who were still nursing injuries everyone was fit and ready for the match.

Mutasa, like he did last term, has assembled a new look squad with a number of youth players set to play a big part in the championship bid.

Weekend fixtures

Saturday: Bulawayo City v Chapungu (Luveve), Ngezi Platinum v Herentals (Baobab), ZPC Kariba v FC Platinum (National Sports Stadium), Nichrut FC v Mutare City (Mandava), Yadah FC v Bulawayo Chiefs (Rufaro), Chicken Inn v Dynamos (Barbourfields),

Sunday: Highlanders v Black Rhinos (Barbourfields), Shabanie Mine v Triangle (Mandava), Caps United v Harare City (National Sports Stadium)