Ndiraya admits tough draw

HARARE - Dynamos will have to be at their very best if they are to reach the group stages of the 2013 African Champions League, says the club’s assistant coach Tonderai Ndiraya.

The record 19-time Zimbabwe champions were handed a difficult path by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) draw on Sunday in Cairo.

DeMbare first face Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) in the preliminary round scheduled for next February.

In the first round, the Zimbabwean champions will meet Libyan champions Al-Ittihad or CA Bizertin of Tunisia.

Reigning African champions Al Ahly are largely be expected to be sail through to the second round to set up a potential clash with Dynamos.

 “To be honest with you the draw is quite difficult,” Ndiraya told the Daily News yesterday.

“We have to be at our best if we are to get to the mini-league stage and this means we have to do everything right.

“The first thing we need to do is to beef up our squad by acquiring the right kind of players who can compete on this stage.”

Ndiraya said DeMbare are in the hunt for experienced centre halves to replace former captain Guthrie Zhokinyi, who was handed a life ban for his involvement in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.

Zhokinyi has however appealed against the ban.

DeMbare are also likely to lose the services of defender Partson Jaure, who has attracted the interest of Turkish clubs.

Ndiraya said the champions also need to secure an attacking midfielder to complement the services of Tawanda Muparati.

Muparati was the only player who could play in the creative role for the club last season and he ended up suffering from burnout after a long season.

DeMbare are also looking for a forward in the mould of Takesure Chinyama, who has the physical presence required for the tough continental assignments.  

“The second thing we need to do is to have very good preparations which will be key to our success,” said Ndiraya.

“We have learnt from the previous campaign that the players’ fitness levels must be very high in order to compete at this high standard of football. Look at Al Ahly at the moment. They are playing in the Fifa Club World Cup against quality opposition and they will not be pushovers when they come back to play in the Champions League next year.

“But all these things involve everyone in the system. It’s not the coaches’ responsibility alone. We also need to improve on our mental strength because playing in Africa is very tough. Look at what happened in Tunisia when our players got easily frustrated by the referee and we ended up getting hammered by Esperance.”  

Ndiraya is also aware of the threat posed by LCS in the first round.

“They are an unknown quantity, which is very dangerous if we underestimate them. The job starts with LCS in the first round and we have to get a result,” he said.

“If you look at the rankings, Zimbabwean football is much higher compared to Lesotho but the result will not come on a silver platter.”

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