Why Dynamos can get Tunisian redemption

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The last time they were in Tunisia on the same Caf Champions League mission, Dynamos were hypnotised by an Esperance side which administered a footballing lesson that Kalisto Pasuwa has used in his preparations for another African expedition.

Kevin Mapasure

The Glamour Boys, who earned another right to represent Zimbabwe after winning the domestic championship, clash with CA Birzetin on Sunday in the first round of the competition, in a match they are desperate to win to patch up a battered reputation.

The 7-1 aggregate defeat to Esperance has haunted Pasuwa, even threatening his job, but he will be looking to upset the Tunisian opposition and earn redemption.

The Dynamos gaffer has expressed confidence going into this tie, albeit with a few worries especially in attack where his options are limited to Francesco Zikumbawire and Farai Mupasiri, unless he can reinvent a midfielder to fill in.

Pasuwa has said his front line lacks depth but is still confident his offseason maneuvers have strengthened his side to compete with Africa’s elite.

Dynamos has drawn some skepticism after its recent history against a Tunisian team, and also DeMbare’s performance in the preliminary round where they lost to Lesotho Correctional Services in the second leg, but progressed on a 3-1 aggregate.

However there are more reasons to be confident going into this tie.

Esperance is in a different class to Birzetin who only have four league championships with the latest way back in 1984 before their second place finish in Tunisia’s Ligue 1 last term, which earned them a Champions League berth.

Esperance is the dominant force after unearthing a generation of some of the finest players in that country and while Birzetin are a good side, they are not as blessed.

That Birzetin had to go through the preliminary round should give the Glamour Boys a measure of confidence.

The Tunisians have a sprinkling of foreign players who feature for their national teams particularly striker Olivier Karekezi of Rwanda, who has so far scored one goal for his country in the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers as well as Ahmed Fraj Hussein, a Libyan attacker.

The other imports are not regular members of national teams and of all the Tunisians they have in their team, only goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha was part of the squad that played in the Afcon finals in South Africa.

That is not to suggest, however, that Dynamos will have it easy, but the Zimbabwe champions will draw confidence from the fact the Esperance side that beat them is the core of the Tunisian national team and the same cannot be said of their opponents.

Pasuwa is worried about the size of his players, particularly his central defence pairing of Gift Bello and Patson Jaure. Morris Kadzola could be included to combat the Tunisians’ aerial threat.

It is not a game in which Dynamos can afford to attack with abandon, but one they have to be at their calculative best, playing to contain their hosts but looking to utilise the smallest of openings.

On the other hand the hosts will search for a healthy cushion ahead of the second leg while denying Dynamos a crucial away goal.

Restoration of some semblance of African pride is as important as progress in this tie for Dynamos.

Experience is key and the likes of Tawanda Muparati and Murape Murape will have to tap into their reservoir of expertise to help their team in this tough mission.

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