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Some sat on rooftops of houses around Nyamhunga Stadium while others were perilously perched on trees to get a clear view of the greatest match ever to be staged in their recently refurbished football arena.

Inside the stadium, a fervent band of about 1 500 ZPC Kariba fans waved red and blue flags and almost equalled in numbers their Dynamos counterparts whose singing they drowned with their wild cheers the entire afternoon.

Never mind that two weeks earlier they had witnessed FC Platinum spoil their party by thrashing their team 3-0 in the Nyamhunga homecoming showdown.

Now, they were watching their second ever Premier Soccer League (PSL) match at home, but this time a more historic one against the most successful club on the land.

It was a memorable afternoon to most of the Kariba folks eight days ago when ZPC drew 1-1 with Dynamos.

While DeMbare’s invasion of the small resort town was not the usual noisy Zora Butter roadshows synonymous with everywhere they visit, the atmosphere was however still an expressive one.

Fisheries made brisk business, as did bottle stores from the travelling Dynamos fans.

Having spent the whole of last season based at their adopted Gwanzura in the capital, one could feel among ZPC fans a burning sensation to watch their stars in action.

For some, it was the first time ever to watch live their team play a PSL match.

Others never had the opportunity to watch former forward Limited Chikafa bang in those goals last season, or ex-coach Saul Chaminuka display his tactical ingenuity on the touchline.

But now Dynamos was in town.

Expectations were to watch Dynamos’ little magician Ronald Chitiyo perform, but it was instead their own man Raphael Manuvire who stole the show as he tormented the DeMbare defence all afternoon.

“Dauuuuuuuu,” they roared whenever reigning Soccer Star of the Year Dennis Dauda was in possession or after he performed a trademark block.

They danced to silky moves by their wingers Tsepo Ranthokoane and Artwell Nyamiwa.

Thirty-four minutes into the match, Tsepo Ranthokoane torched Nyamhunga when he thrust ZPC ahead and the fans’ explosion into a frenzy charmed new coach Sunday Chidzambwa.

“There is a fantastic crowd here in Kariba. I have seen the kind of crowd which you do not witness in Harare. For a place like Kariba, you do not expect such a passionate crowd,” said Chidzambwa.

With the goal triggering total dominance of play from ZPC Kariba, there was dead silence on the bay occupied by DeMbare supporters for the next 51 minutes until Farai Mupasiri levelled for the visitors.

ZPC fans deliriously cheered every move made by their rather wasteful team which missed a glut of clear-cut scoring opportunities that could have seen them win by at least half a dozen goals.

The Dynamos midfield was dysfunctional with Ronald Chitiyo appearing to have gone into hiding, with Walter Mukanga sterile while Godfrey Murwira vanished and forwards Mupasiri and Kelvin Bulaji were on holiday.

David Mandigora appeared clueless as he paced up and down the touchline amid relentless attacks from the opposition.

But Dynamos being Dynamos, they grinded a point, much to the disappointment of ZPC fans who had watched their side command play with authority.

Having recorded six draws and four losses so far — which has outweighed their three wins — Chidzambwa inherits a squad which almost claimed the league title at first attempt last season under Chaminuka.

Chidzambwa — the most decorated local gaffer — last coached a Zimbabwean club in 1999.

“The standard of local football has not changed much in terms of improving. The main reason is that so many of our good players have gone to South Africa and by doing so, our football will not improve. Because of that, I feel it is now a tall order coaching in Zimbabwe,” said Chidzambwa.

Chidzambwa’s last coaching stint in Zimbabwe was in 2010 as Warriors coach.

To ZPC Kariba, a Messiah could have finally been sent upon them as they now have a coach who reached the final of the 1998 CAF Champions League with Dynamos and reached the 2004 Afcon finals, among a number of league titles with Dynamos.

Before winning Chidzambwa’s signature, ZPC Kariba had courted the likes of Kalisto Pasuwa and CAPS United’s Mark Harrison, but all in vain.

Club chairman Munyaradzi Nduna has a lot of trust in Chidzambwa and feels the return to Nyamhunga could help them achieve great things.

“I believe Sunday’s arrival will have a huge impact on the team because he has a lot of experience. We approached a number of coaches including Kalisto Pasuwa but we had to eventually settle for Sunday,” said Nduna.

“Returning to Nyamhunga means a lot to us. Everyone is happy in Kariba. It is a big aantage to us because the 12th-man would be behind us.”

ZPC Kariba’s squad is however dominated by PSL veterans with no home-grown talent, a regular in the first team.

To stand-in captain Tawanda Munyanduri, the facelift to Nyamhunga could also herald a new era at the club.

“The fans motivate us a lot. We played our second match at home and were playing a very big team like Dynamos. This kind of support can still push us to go far,” he said.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard

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