DeMbare in Downs test

HARARE - Dynamos team manager Richard Chihoro has challenged the Glamour Boys to stay true to the club’s winning culture by taking today’s friendly match with Mamelodi Sundowns seriously.

The friendly at Gwanzura Stadium will offer the Zimbabwean champions an early and vital test of their preparedness for this year’s edition of the African Champions League.

DeMbare play Lesotho Correctional Services in two weeks in the first leg of the preliminary round of the Champions League.

With question marks hanging over the team’s readiness for the continent’s premier club competition due to the exit of key players in the off-season, Dynamos could not have asked for a tougher test than Sundowns, who have already beaten Highlanders 2-0 and CAPS United 4-1 in their opening two games of their five-day tour of Zimbabwe.

Today, Sundowns will complete their mid-season tour with a clash against the 19-times Zimbabwean champions, with coach Pitso Mosimane indicating he would like to finish with a flourish.

“I think I have played everybody in the last two games so for the last match against Dynamos, we will go for it,” Mosimane told reporters after the CAPS match on Wednesday.

And now after failing to secure adequate pre-season preparation, Dynamos’ Chihoro believes the former South African champions offer DeMbare a wonderful opportunity to assess their preparedness before they can venture into the African Safari.

“We are taking this friendly match seriously, as you know we are preparing for our match against Lesotho Correctional Services in two weeks,” Chihoro told Daily News on Sunday yesterday.

“We are expecting a stern challenge from Sundowns, they are quite a big club with a rich history and we expect them to give us a good run.

“We are challenging the new players to step-up their game and prove their mettle. This is probably our last high-profile match and I am sure the coaches will be looking at picking their best squad.

“Our preparations have been going on well and I think we have found the best replacements for those who have left for South Africa, but they need time to adjust into the team’s culture.”

Dynamos’ preparations for the new season have been made difficult by failure to secure their registered players in time and the sudden departure of their chief striker, Roderick Mutuma and Simba Sithole, who were registered for the Champions League.

Striker Martin Vengesayi left the club after failing to agree personal terms for the renewal of his contract while Hwange forward Francesco Zekumbawire is yet to complete his loan deal.

DeMbare also lost their most-prized asset, Denver Mukamba, who sealed his move to South Africa’s Bidvest Wits after leading the Glamour Boys in their successful defence of their league and cup double last year.

Dynamos are currently training without a recognised striker and veteran Murape Murape has been used as the lone striker during pre-season matches while rookie forward Farai Mupasiri is complaining of a back injury.

The Glamour Boys will however be looking forward to unleash their new signings — former Monomotapa forward Russel Madamombe, Ugandan international Boban Zirintusa, ex-Chicken Inn midfielder Sydney Linyama and former Motor Action defender Morris Kadzola.

Dynamos signed former Hwange striker Allan Tavarwisa on Thursday while Patrick Khumbula was brought back from a loan spell at division one side Hippo valley.

Sundowns, who had an indifferent first half season in the Absa Premiership, are currently 10th on the log standings after playing 16 games and are using the tour of Zimbabwe to keep fit and prepare for the remainder of their season.

Regulars Teko Modise, Surprise Moriri, Anthony Laffor, Elias Pelembe, Richard Henyekane, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Clayton Daniels, Wayne Arendse and Eleazar Rogers are expected to lead the Brazilians against DeMbare as the Pretorians seek a tour clean-sweep.  

Zimbabweans Esrom Nyandoro, Method Mwanjali and Nyasha Mushekwi, who were rested against CAPS on Wednesday, will be back in the line-up today.

Mushekwi’s brace sunk Highlanders in Downs’ tour opener last Wednesday.  

Sundowns, who are staying at the five-star Rainbow Towers in the capital, yesterday trained at the match venue ahead of today’s clash. - Godknows Matarutse

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