BY Kevin Mapasure

Despite his team’s failure to compete for the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) title this season, Dynamos defender Emmanuel Jalayi is impressed with the season he has had so far and is targeting a flourishing finish by shining on the big stage set by the big Harare derby against Caps United tomorrow.

The right back has been Dynamos’ shining star despite it being his first season in the top-flight where he is well set to finish among the Soccer Stars of the Year finalists.

DeMbare have experienced an average season where they have failed to put up a fight for the league title, but they have been one of the most difficult sides to beat since Tonderai Ndiraya took over as coach following the sacking of Lloyd Chigowe.

Ndiraya has spent much of the season complaining about the quality of players at his disposal, but among the rubble he has found a gem in Jalayi, who has since become one of the most sought-after players as some of the serious teams have already started planning for next season.

Jalayi shone in the first league match against Caps which ended in a one-all draw at Rufaro Stadium and is looking to shut out the Green Machine attackers, particularly speed merchant Phineas Bamusi, when the two square up tomorrow.

Theirs should be one of the key contests in the derby which Caps will be desperate to win.

“In the derby, everyone wants to do well. I did well in the first one and hopefully I will also play well in this one,” Jalayi said.

“The Harare derby is a big stage and there will be a lot of people watching so it’s an extra motivation to do well. Caps are fighting to win the title and they want to win this match, but we also have a target of finishing among the top four, so the match is just as important to us as it is to them.”

He said he had received a lot of encouragement from the watchers of the game in his maiden year in the topflight and wanted to keep improving.

“I am one of the players at Dynamos who only started playing in the PSL this year. I feel it’s a massive achievement for someone of my age to come in and play for a big club like Dynamos. I have received a lot of support and encouragement from the supporters which has made it easier to for me in my debut year. I am quite pleased with what I have achieved so far and only hope to get better next season.”

The Aces Youth Academy product had a six-month stint at Caps last year, but failed to win a first team cap.

Tomorrow, the 20-year-old will be looking to hurt the Green Machine’s title ambitions and advance DeMbare’s cause of going 23 matches unbeaten.