DeMbare kick off Africa campaign
With the scars of that mauling at the hands of Esperance still fresh, Zimbabwe’s sole Caf Champions League representatives Dynamos embark on another African expedition starting with what should be an easy match against Correctional Services of Lesotho.
The first leg of this tie is at Rufaro stadium, Dynamos’ favourite hunting ground.
So much has changed since that 7-1 aggregate mauling by the Tunisians, but so little has improved in terms of DeMbare’s preparations and improvement of the squad.
Dazzling Denver Mukamba who drove Dynamos last season has since left as has Takesure Chinyama who operated at the point of attack.
Simba Sithole, a mid-season acquisition and Roderick Mutuma, another front man, have also left for the Absa Premiership riches.
What this has left is a challenge for Kalisto Pasuwa and his team, to rebuild yet again.
“The main challenge is that our preparations should be up to scratch, but that has not been the case, said Pasuwa. “If you look at the team that knocked us out they lost just one player from the squad they had last season. In comparison, we have lost the core of the team and we are literally starting afresh. We are not using that as an excuse; we are going into the Champions League to fight to improve on what we did last time, but we are saying because we are rebuilding we will face challenges. When you play and get beaten the aim is always to do better next time.”
Challenges are all Dynamos has faced this transfer season which started off on a promising note but ended up as a chin-scratcher for Pasuwa.
For at least two months the Glamour Boys have been battling to add Francesco Zikumbawire to their strike force which has been severely depleted.
It is still not clear whether the player, whose club Hwange have demanded $15 000 for a year’s loan service, will be joining the champions, yet he is one of the registered players for this competition and Dynamos dearly need him especially in the second round.
While Dynamos can afford to reinvent either Murape Murape or Russell Madamobe who has been rushed out of injury lay-off, to play alongside the only recognised striker in the set-up Farai Mupasiri on Sunday, real tests await them once they negotiate their way past the Basotho club.
“We have players whom we can use as strikers; they have to do the job and those are some of the demands of football at this level,” said Pasuwa.
Ocean Mushure has been struggling with an ankle injury but his left back position can be easily filled by Augustine Mbara.
Gift Bello and Patson Jaure
are expected to retain their places in defence, while Morris Kadzola is likely to complete the back four.
Stephen Alimenda can be summoned to the base of the midfield while captain Tawanda Muparati links with the strikers.
Goals are what DeMbare will need on Sunday, yet the strike force is one area that has caused headaches for the former Dynamos midfield star.
Dynamos have been striving to pick up from where they left last season in terms of fluency but they are yet to hit the right notes as was evidenced by their Bob 89 clash with Highlanders.
But the good news is that their opponents have also been idle after the end of their season.
Despite all these challenges the expectant DeMbare fans will demand that the team’s battered reputation in this competition be repaired.