HomeSportDynamos up against it

Dynamos up against it

DYNAMOS’ reputation of defying all odds on the continent will come under its severest test in this year’s mini-league stage of the CAF African Champions League following the draw yesterday which pitted them against defending champions TP Mazembe, among other top African clubs.

When the draw for the business end of Africa’s premier club competition was conducted yesterday, the Harare club was the only team in their pool who are not champions in their country.

They were pipped to the title by Gunners, who tumbled out of the Champions League in the preliminary stages.

Dynamos will come up against teams with a solid history in their countries, clubs that are supported with great passion at home, just like Dynamos themselves.

In fact, Dynamos are the youngest of the four teams in Group B, having been formed in 1963 after their rivals, defending champions Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who were formed in 1939, 23-time Tunisian champions Esperance (1919), and Algerians ES Setif (1958).

TP Mazembe, the big-spending Congolese club that signed four Zimbabwean players from local club Monomotapa at the end of last season, won the Champions League last year after beating Nigeria’s Heartland in the two-legged final.

The Zimbabweans on the Lubumbashi-based outfit’s books are Mthulisi Maphosa, Chris Semakweri, Darryl Nyandoro and Daniel Zokoto.

Mazembe are owned by wealthy business tycoon Moise Katumbi Chapwe, and coached by expatriate coach Diego Garzitto, an Italian national.

Esperance are also heavies in Africa, alongside fellow Tunisian countrymen Etoile Sportive du Sahel.
They have never won the Champions League, but were runners-up in 1999 and 2000.

ES Setif, the least known of the four clubs, are one of the prestigious top Algerian teams.
Six of their players, goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi, defenders Abdelkader Laifaoui and Hocine Metref, as well as midfielder Khaled Lemmouchia and Lazhar Hadji Aissa, were this week named in Algeria’s 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup.

Dynamos will open their account against Mazembe at home on the weekend of August 16-18.
Group B has Heartlands, two Egyptian clubs-Ismaily and Al Ahly- and JSK of Algeria.

Caps United, Zimbabwe’s representatives in the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup, will face Sudanese outfit Hilal in the next round of the competition.

Caps, who progressed after defeating Nigerian outfit Warri Wolves, will have to dig deep to maintain their form because by the time the campaign resumes in August, prolific striker Nyasha Mushekwi, inspirational utility player Method Mwanjali, wide player Oscar Machapa and tricky winger Tafadzwa Rusike would have joined their respective new clubs in South Africa.

Meanwhile, Dynamos yesterday gritted out their third consecutive PSL win at Rufaro stadium.
Evans Gwekwerere struck the winner on 40 minutes. The in-form striker cooled down an Ashley Rambanapasi cross with his chest before firing home a fine right footer.

Star striker Cuthbert Malajila, at the centre of a signing-fee dispute between Dynamos and Airforce club Chapungu, watched the game from the terraces amid reports that he could be sold to another club.

 

Ashley Marimo

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