Dynamos look to 2008 for inspiration

HARARE - It is notable that from the Dynamos team that reached the African Champions League semi-finals almost five years ago, only current captain Murape Murape survives.

Four years later and some catastrophic Champions League campaigns in-between, Dynamos are looking for inspiration from that fine run under David Mandigora in 2008 as they prepare to take on Tunisian club CA Bizertin this weekend in their first real test of the season.

In 2008, the Glamour Boys defied all odds as they dumped the then reigning African champions Etoile du Sahel out of the competition with a 2-0 aggregate win.

The Harare giants won the first leg 1-0 at Gwanzura Stadium thanks to Desmond Maringwa’s wonder goal before going onto win the return leg in Sousse with a similar scoreline courtesy of a Benjamin Marere strike.

It was an extraordinary victory, all the more so because Etoile had not lost a continental club football match at home in Sousse in 10 years.

Veteran midfielder Murape was part of that DeMbare squad that eventually bowed out of the competition in the semi-finals.

The experienced skipper believes this current crop of players has what it takes to reach the mini-league stage again.

“We have gone there (Tunisia) before with the odds heavily staked against us and we have managed to return with a good result,” Murape told the Daily News yesterday.

“Etoile had gone for many years without a defeat in their own backyard but we were able to beat them and qualify.

“I think we can also do it this year by going there and coming back with a positive result. If you look at our squad this year, it is also similar to the same squad that we had in 2008. We have a number of youngsters who are full of running and ready to make a name for themselves by doing well for this club. It’s not going to be easy to go to Tunisia and get a good result and for it to happen we need everyone to play their part.

“Everyone must be mentally and physically prepared for this battle and if we follow the coaches’ instructions from the first minute to the final whistle I don’t see us coming back with a bad result.”

Last year, Dynamos were bundled out of the competition by another Tunisian side, Esperance, in the final qualifying round.

Calisto Pasuwa’s men were ruthlessly exposed in the first leg in Tunis, going down down 6-0 before restoring some lost pride with a 1-1 draw in the second leg in Harare.

This time around Murape does not see DeMbare capitulating in the same manner.

“We learnt a very valuable lesson against Esperance last year and I don’t think we will repeat the same mistakes we made that day,” said the 33-year-old.

“A result like that will occur again if we respect our opponents and allow them a lot of space as they will definitely punish you. From the first minute we need to be switched on and never to allow them to frustrate us in any way. There will be a lot of distractions; for example the referee might not be balanced and he will give some home town decisions.

“And if we let that get into our heads we will crumble, but we have learned our lesson and we will not allow it to happen again.”

Dynamos were inactive this weekend after the Premier Soccer League stopped the champions’ proposed friendly against Buffaloes, citing that it might be a counter attraction to the NetOne Charity Shield.

Bizertin were also inactive after their Tunisian Premiership opponents Olympic Kef failed to turn up.

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