The Sunday News
Raymond Jaravaza, Sunday News Sports Correspondent
RESULTS and goals say otherwise but Dynamos coach Herbert “Jampano” Maruwa is adamant that both his team and Highlanders are still the giants of local football.
Seated side by side in a rare show of respect for one another after their Africa Day 0-0 draw at Barbourfields Stadium, the two coaches opted to address a joint post-match Press briefing. Coaches are normally interviewed separately by sports writers and broadcasters in the Press room, a tradition that Bulawayo sports scribes and coaches have religiously stuck to for years. It’s also the norm regionally and internationally to have gaffers interviewed separately.
But last Thursday, after the goalless stalemate at the ceremonial home of Bulawayo football, the Bosso coach Baltemar Brito and Maruwa decided to “spice up” the Press briefing. To bolster his assertion that the two biggest clubs in the country, by following, still rule the roost in local football, Maruwa pointed at the huge numbers that paid to watch the anticipated rearranged Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Match Day Five. Over 13 000 fans paid to watch arguably the greatest fixture on land.
“We are both still the giants of Zimbabwean football. Just look at the crowds out there who came to watch the game. The goals will come, they will definitely come. It’s work in progress,” Maruwa responded to a Sunday News Sport question.
When journalists invited Bosso coach Brito to take his place in front of cameras and recording devices, the expatriate insisted that he wanted his opponent to join him. Brito’s assistant Antonio Torres quickly walked out of the Press room and invited Muruwa in and the two coaches sat side by side to field questions from sports scribes.
Judging by previous reactions from Brito, particularly after the Hwange FC match at Barbourfields and the Sheasham game in Gweru, that teams play against Highlanders solely to frustrate Bosso, his request to have a joint presser with Maruwa can be interpreted as a clear sign of respect for his opposite number. Brito has previously accused some teams of employing delaying tactics to frustrate his side, whether when Bosso is playing home or away.
Hwange FC goalkeeper Nedrick Madeya courted the ire of the Bosso coach with his alleged time wasting tactics though his team eventually lost 1-0 to the Bulawayo giants. At Bata Stadium, the Portuguese expatriate was also left fuming as Sheasham players spent more time being treated for questionable injuries than playing the game. The blockbuster tie at Barbourfields on Africa Day was not without its controversies, but both teams must be applauded for playing value-for-money football.
After the presser, Torres who interprets for Brito, simply told this reporter: “He was just showing his respect for the Dynamos coach, they came to play football and the fans enjoyed the match”.
Meanwhile, this afternoon Highlanders welcome Greenfuel at Barbourfields hoping to end their four-match winless streak.
Bosso have dropped crucial points drawing against Sheasham, Simba Bhora, Cranbourne and Dynamos. DeMbare, also on four consecutive draws, are away to wounded Ngezi Platinum Stars who had their 19-match unbeaten streak coming to an end when they lost 2-0 to Chicken Inn. — @RaymondJaravaza