HARARE giants Dynamos have been dealt a massive blow in their revival mission, with the Glamour Boys yesterday losing the services of their captain and central defender Augustine Mbara who has signed for newly-promoted South African Premiership side Highlands Park.
Dynamos paid a huge price for their often lackadaisical approach to business as they failed to tie up the tall former Warriors defender until his contract expired on June 30.
Mbara, who inked a two-year deal with Highlands Park, now leaves as a free agent with Dynamos losing out from potential financial gain from selling the player.
The 24-year-old defender’s manager Gibson Mahachi revealed last night that they had to consider Mbara’s future after negotiations with Dynamos seemed to be taking too long to conclude.
There were fears that the player could eventually be left out in the cold as Dynamos had more than six months to decide on the player’s future and tie him to a longer spell.
Mbara will now join former Warriors goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini at Highlands Park.
Dynamos could also lose Warriors first choice goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva, with Mahachi indicating that he is by the end of this week set to get feedback from Maritzburg United where the player had gone for trials.
“It is true that Augustine is leaving Dynamos. He has been signed by Highlands Park on a two-year deal and his contract with Dynamos had expired on 30 June.
“Dynamos had of late tried to negotiate a new deal but they left it too late to commit an extension and who knows maybe the talks would have collapsed and he would have been left in limbo,’’ Mahachi said.
Ironically, Mbara leaves Dynamos in the week that his partner in the Glamour Boys central defence Elisha Muroiwa finally agreed to a contract extension.
Muroiwa sat out Dynamos’ clash with Bulawayo City at Barbourfields last Saturday as the contract talks appeared to have stalled.
The tough tackling Muroiwa has been improving on his game and has since forced his way into the heart of the Warriors central defence where he partners Sparta Prague’s Costa Nhamoinesu.
Mbara, who is equally good at left back, also blossomed into a good centre back after being switched into that position by former Warriors coach Klaus Dieter Pagels.
His move to South Africa is set to have a huge impact in the Dynamos rearguard and could affect the resurgence that the Harare giants had been enjoying following a pathetic start under controversial Portuguese coach Paulo Jorge Silva
Since Silva’s departure, DeMbare have flourished under Lloyd Mutasa who has presided over that revival mission that has seen the former champions ease into fifth place with 20 points from 12 games and more importantly to the Glamour Boys and their faithful, they have moved to just six behind leaders and bitter rivals Highlanders.
Mutasa, who said he was, still to be officially notified of Mbara’s move, however, expressed concern over his captain’s departure.
Officially we have not heard from the Dynamos family about the move but if it is true, it is a big blow to us as an institution.
“Augustine was not just an ordinary player but a team captain and he has immense leadership qualities. When we were struggling at Rufaro, he took responsibility of a captain to break the jinx and score.
“We are going to miss him dearly but as the Dynamos family we cannot stand in the way of our players if they get an opportunity to further their careers.
“I am sure wherever he will go Mbara will also be carrying the Dynamos brand with him,’’ Mutasa said.
The Dynamos coach said he would also now need to be on the hunt for a “good replacement’’ for Mbara as the Harare giants seek to maintain their new found momentum.
“Augustine was part and parcel of our plans going forward and now we really have to look for a very good replacement as it will be getting tougher in the second half of the season’’.
The Dynamos coach also expressed mixed feelings over the two-week Premiership mid-season break which will run from July 18-29.
“For the teams that have been struggling with their game of late it could be a good omen and a blessing in disguise in that it gives them a chance to address their weak areas but for those that had reached top form, it could derail their momentum as it may be difficult for some to pick up again.
“But these breaks do happen in football and it is a two-way issue in that it has its good and its bad sides but the mark of a good team is that which can rise up when it has gone down,’’ Mutasa said.
Mutasa also expressed sadness at the loss of former Warriors coach Ben Koufie who died in Ghana on Monday. “Ben Koufie was the first coach to call me to the Warriors in 1990 when we went to the East and Central African Challenge Cup. I owe him a lot and I have been saddened to hear of his death, may his dear soul rest in peace’’.
Although Dynamos have been rocked by the departure of their skipper, one of their defenders, Godknows Murwira is confident that glory days are coming back to the Harare giants and is confident they will finish at the top. The versatile player’s remarks come after DeMbare stitched together their fourth successive win while log leaders Highlanders were losing to champions Chicken Inn at the weekend.
Murwira turned 23 on Monday and was joined in the birthday celebrations by his teammates and club board of directors chairman Bernard Marriot at the team’s training session.
“I was very happy with the result in Bulawayo. It gave me some motivation and I feel the good days are coming back to DeMbare. Dynamos is a big team and we are slowly going up the ladder to our usual place. We belong to the top and I feel it’s just a matter of time.I am urging the Dynamos fans to keep on supporting us even when the chips are down .We will be back were we belong in a short space of time. I am happy that teams at the top are dropping points.
“The race is still open and I am also happy with our coaches they are like fathers to us and they always encourage us to show love to each other and I think it’s paying dividends because we are a family,” said Murwira.