Dynamos' relegation troubles persist after Chapungu draw

Kingston Nkhatha during his time playing for SuperSport United in the Absa Premiership Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Former Zimbabwe striker Kingston Nkhatha's first appearance for Dynamos failed to spark the expected uptick in fortunes as the Harare giants stuttered to a goalless draw in a relegation scrap with Chapungu at Rufaro Stadium.

Thursday's result left Dynamos in 12th place with 30 points, just three more than Nichrut, who occupy the last of the relegation places.

Expectations had been high that Nkhatha, who was released by Absa Premiership side SuperSport a couple of months ago, would add some much-needed bite to a strike-force which has managed a mere 20 goals in 25 matches.

But the 32-year-old made little impact and in the end, Dynamos were lucky to salvage a draw in a match the visitors dominated and created the clearer chances.

Coach Lloyd Mutasa had started with midseason acquisitions Bret Amidu and Denver Mukamba in the mix, with the former deployed in central midfield alongside James Marufu and Gift Saunyama.

But not much seemed to be working for Dynamos in a largely disjointed display, and the spectre of relegation is now looming large for Zimbabwe's most successful team.

The draw against Chapungu came just four days after Dynamos had been humiliated 3-0 at archrivals Highlanders in the so-called Battle of Zimbabwe, and Mutasa must be hoping for change when he faces Harare City on Sunday.

The 21-time champions have a relatively easy end of season programme though, with CAPS United and FC Platinum the only big names they still have to face in their remaining nine matches.

Defending champions Platinum for their part will hope to recover swiftly from the 1-1 draw at Black Rhinos in midweek, with victory against eighth-placed Herentals on Saturday.

Having gone into Matchday 26 looking unstoppable following a haul of nine goals in two matches, Platinum instead needed a late Rodwell Chinyengetere strike to avoid what would certainly have represented a demoralising defeat.

Allan Gahadzikwa had given Rhinos a first-half lead, and with a bit more precision the army side could have added a couple of goals well before Platinum's late leveller.

In Herentals, Platinum face another tricky opponent at a time when they can hardly afford further setbacks after seeing their lead halved to two points by second placed Ngezi, who beat ZPC Kariba 1-0 in their own midweek assignment.

Ngezi have not been too consistent themselves but will hope they have enough firepower to overcome visiting Yadah, who are without a win in their last six matches.

The top two have endured some slip-ups in recent weeks against weaker opponents, with Ngezi losing to third-from bottom Mutare City on Matchday 24. None of the chasing pack has, however, looked strong enough to capitalise.

Third-placed Chicken Inn had at some stage appeared best-placed to gatecrash the title race only to run into their own problems, with Wednesday's 2-1 loss to CAPS United leaving them 12 points shy of the summit.

Bulawayo giants Highlanders have long exited the title conversation but even when playing without pressure, they are still struggling for consistency as evidenced by the 1-0 loss at Mutare City in their own midweek assignment.

Madinda Ndlovu's men, whose supporters had celebrated wildly following Sunday's win over Dynamos, will visit ZPC Kariba on Sunday on a run of three defeats in their last four matches.