'Beware the Algiers ghost'

HARARE - Dynamos players have been urged to draw lessons from the club’s infamous capitulation at the hands of MC Algiers of Algeria two years ago as they prepare to travel to Lesotho for the return leg of their African Champions League qualifying round.  

The warning came from assistant coach Tichaona Diya, who was part of the DeMbare technical bench in 2011 when the club blew a 4-1 lead from the first leg in Harare, crashing to a 3-0 defeat in the Algerian capital and exit Africa’s premier club competition on away goals rule.

The Glamour Boys find themselves in an almost similar situation after beating Lesotho Correctional Services 3-0 at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday to establish a seemingly comfortable first leg lead ahead of the return leg in Maseru in a fortnight.    

 DeMbare – who are beginning a new era following the departure of talismanic playmaker Denver Mukamba and the chief striking pair of Rodreck Mutuma and Simba Sithole for South African clubs in the off-season – put one foot in the final through goals from captain Tawanda Muparati, Uganda international Boban Zirintusa and defender Partson Jaure.

But with memories of that catastrophe in Algiers still fresh in his mind, Diya said the Zimbabwean champions will not underrate the Basotho outfit in the return leg.

 “We are happy with the performance of the boys. It was a good result but we are not stopping there. We are already looking to the second leg and we are taking the game seriously,” Diya told Daily News yesterday.

 “There are still areas which need to be improved and I am sure we will get there. Usually, when you carry a healthy lead like this, the boys tend to be complacent, but we are saying we need to stay focused.

 “We need to talk to the boys about complacency and remind them it’s not over yet. This is just the first half and if you heard from our opponents they are talking tough. We need to remind the players about that game when we were knocked out from the tournament by that team from Algeria.”

Last year, the Glamour Boys were no match for Esperance of Tunisia, after having dumped Liga Muculmana of Mozambique in the first round, losing 1-7 on aggregate.

Diya feels the Harare giants have learnt crucial lessons from their previous failed campaigns.

 “Like we have said before, we want to improve from our last two editions when we failed to make it to the mini-league stage. There are no easy games in Africa and we are taking each game as it comes.” - Godknows Matarutse

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