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Continental soccer: Clubs need resources

Kelvin Mapasure

WHILE brainstorming a topic for this column, the Warriors crossed my mind first. They almost always do, unless something else really big is going on.

I thought I would offer my humble advice on the need for thorough preparations for the Warriors’ Afcon qualifier against Angola, seeing that our opponents are already thinking beyond Zimbabwe.
But I asked myself, what really hasn’t been said about Zifa and the shambolic way it has handled the Warriors in the last two years?
Advice has been given on preparations, coaches, players, sponsorship, motivation and incentives but to no avail. The situation at the moment is pathetic. But, brutal as this may sound, our chances of reaching Afcon 2013 are very slim.
Yet really, this is one tournament where we ought to be.
Enough about the Warriors,  now to club football, particularly continental competitions, since Zimbabwe’s sole representative on the continent Dynamos is out after the early departures of Motor Action and Hwange in the Confederations Cup as well as FC Platinum in the top tier Caf Champions League.
If at all in future Dynamos or any other team is to relive 1998 when DeMbare was successful enough to reach the final of the club continental showcase, our approach should change drastically.
DeMbare would be the first to admit that the playing material that wins a league championship is not necessarily the material that would bring continental glory.
Zimbabwean football has failed to move with the times and preparations are one aspect of the game that we still need to be schooled in.
If you compare how most continental giants prepare for these competitions, you would not be surprised by Dynamos losing 6-0 to Esperance, and then failing to score in 180 minutes of football against Interclube.
With a fat sponsorship cheque, Dynamos should have persuaded sponsor BancABC to help splash more on players.
The Dynamos of this term became a predictable force in the Champions League once Takesure Chinyama hammered three against Liga Muculumana in both legs of their first round clash.
With prolific Denver Mukamba also catching the attention of many continental teams after his explosive display in the first match against Muculumana, teams knew exactly how to take the sting out  of DeMbare.
Once they got their strategies right on the Dynamos heartbeat, it became too easy once Chinyama was shut out. Really nobody else stood out.
Without disrespecting current players, Dynamos just lacked the quality to at least progress to the mini-league phase of the Confederations Cup, let alone the Champions League.
To their credit, Dynamos  admitted they erred by not making good use of the cheque book.
There are a couple of ways of securing players. One is to splash on ready-made quality and the other is to invest in the manufacture of quality at youth level.
There is a glimmer of hope for Dynamos in this investment in  yet-to-be-polished gem Farai Mupasira and Leroy Murape soon after introducing Tichaona Mabvura.
I spoke to Esperance club official Sadok about how they managed to build a side with so much quality and he told me most players of the current team have been playing together for close to a decade, starting at junior level.
Their investment in juniors  saw them reap rewards last year when they won the Caf Champions League. Already they have made it to the league phase after destroying Dynamos.
I have  focused on Dynamos whom I was privileged to watch in all their continental games home and away, but all teams should make good use of sponsorship and after Motor Action’s financial boost from Mbada, the Mighty Bulls should have invested in signing quality, yet they sold more than they brought in and duly paid by making an early exit.
It’s not the promise of hefty winning bonuses that wins matches although these are also important.
Dynamos players were promised US$500 each for a win on Sunday in addition to US$50 a player for every goal, but they came back home empty-handed.
You could promise them US$2000 each, but when they are stretched in terms of quality and ability, it makes no difference.

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