Mukamba still con­fi­dent:

Den­ver Mukamba de­liv­ers chill­ing warn­ing to big ri­vals

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Grace Chin­goma Se­nior Sports Re­porter

THERE are many who be­lieve this was Den­ver Mukamba’s finest hour on a foot­ball field — the lanky for­ward turn­ing on a su­per show which was drip­ping with pu­rity at Bar­bour­fields to lead his Glam­our Boys to a com­pre­hen­sive 3-0 vic­tory over bit­ter ri­vals CAPS United.

Or­gan­is­ers of this Mbada Di­a­monds Cup semi-fi­nal, in Novem­ber 2012, had taken it to the neu­tral fields of the City of Kings and Den­ver — the boy who would soon be crowned King in do­mes­tic foot­ball — trans­formed him­self into the con­duc­tor of the orches­tra in a de­struc­tion of the Green Ma­chine.

He was sim­ply un­playable that af­ter­noon, run­ning rings around CAPS United de­fend­ers and in­spir­ing his team to a de­served vic­tory.

Mukamba scored one goal, but that only told a part of the story as the Glam­our Boys, fir­ing on all cylin­ders, pow­ered to a big win over their mes­merised op­po­nents.

Rod­er­ick Mu­tuma and Simba Sit­hole, who — un­like Mukamba — would later see their loy­alty to the DeMbare cause be­ing tainted by flir­ta­tions with the Green Ma­chine, scored the other goals.

But, the two were just part-play­ers to the Den­ver su­per show that af­ter­noon amid ris­ing ex­pec­ta­tions that the next big thing in Zim­bab­wean foot­ball had ar­rived.

It was too much for the then CAPS United vice pres­i­dent Farai Jere to bear and, just hours af­ter the end of that match, the Harare busi­ness­man an­nounced he had quit his post.

Zim­babwe Na­tional Soc­cer Sup­port­ers As­so­ci­a­tion boss Ed­die “Mboma’’ Ny­atanga, who was with Jere in his Bu­l­awayo ho­tel room on the night the CAPS United leader an­nounced he was leav­ing his post, re­vealed the Harare busi­ness­man broke down on the day. But, five years later, a lot has changed. Jere is now the owner of CAPS United and this is a big week­end for him af­ter he grad­u­ated with a Bach­e­lor of Ac­coun­tancy Hon­ours de­gree at the Univer­sity of Zim­babwe.

His Green Ma­chine are also the cham­pi­ons of Zim­babwe foot­ball.

Mukamba, in sharp con­trast, is bat­tling some demons that have seen him re­sem­bling a shell of the ma­gi­cian who promised a lot dur­ing that sea­son in which he was also crowned Soc­cer Star of the Year.

He is still at Dy­namos, hav­ing re­turned last year from an un­suc­cess­ful stint in South Africa where he badly lost his way — amid re­ports he lost the pas­sion to keep work­ing hard be­liev­ing his nat­u­ral skills would al­ways drive him to su­per­star­dom — and some­thing just doesn’t look right with him.

He was pulled out in the Bat­tle of Zim­babwe against High­landers at Ru­faro on Sun­day by coach Lloyd Mu­tasa when it be­came clear he wasn’t adding any value to the team, and he ap­peared un­happy with his lat­est sub­sti­tu­tion as he trooped to the tech­ni­cal bench.

At least, and it’s some­thing one has to ap­plaud him for, he re­tained his cool — as emo­tions ex­ploded in­side him — and didn’t go straight to the dress­ing room.

His team­mate, Cameroo­nian striker Chris­tian Epoupa Ntouba, could not con­trol his emo­tions and ended up head­but­ting Bosso de­fender Peter Muduhwa on the day and be­ing sent off.

To­mor­row, at Ru­faro, Den­ver is set for an­other show­down against the old en­emy in the fi­nal chap­ter of the Harare Derby in the cham­pi­onship race this year.

Den­ver says he is still the same player, even though a lot of peo­ple now doubt that, and as part of his ef­forts to con­vince those doubt­ing Thomases that he still has got the magic, he badly needs a big per­for­mance to­mor­row and spoil Jere’s big week­end.

“When I started my ca­reer back then, I used to do very well in such games and

I have been en­cour­ag­ing the younger play­ers we now have in the team to give it their best on Sun­day,’’ said Den­ver.

“When I ar­rived as a young player, I proved many peo­ple wrong, but at times, days are dark. Peo­ple are quick to judge that I am a spent force, but I am still work­ing hard.

“When I re­turned here last sea­son and I scored against Harare City and in the Derby. And on Sun­day I want to show that I am still the same Den­ver.

“Peo­ple are still ex­pect­ing a lot from me. I have been play­ing well this sea­son.’’

He ac­knowl­edged play­ing three big games in three straight weeks has been tak­ing a toll on them.

“There is a lot of pres­sure play­ing these games,’’ said Den­ver.

“For the past two weeks it has not been easy for us be­cause ev­ery­one has been putting hun­dred per­cent.

“We are a happy lot, we beat CAPS United 2-0, but against High­landers we were dis­ap­pointed as a team, our per­for­mance was not very good. But at the end of the day, we picked a point which is good.

“It is a tough game against CAPS United, but we just have to mo­ti­vate each other.

“It is a dif­fer­ent game from the High­landers tie. We would be happy if we can score like we have been do­ing in pre­vi­ous matches, win­ning by at least more than a goal.

“On Sun­day, we will miss our top striker (Chris­tian Ntouba), who is in great form, but we are look­ing for­ward to have an­other player get those goals for us, hope­fully it will be me.”

Den­ver’s rev­e­la­tions that the Cameroo­nian will not play puts to rest the is­sue of his avail­abil­ity with Dy­namos mak­ing the right de­ci­sion rather than field­ing him and get­ting points de­ducted from their tally.

The Glam­our Boys will go top of the ta­ble should they win to­mor­row.

Mukamba has scored six league goals this sea­son.

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