Pasuwa races against time

HARARE - Dynamos coach Calisto Pasuwa is racing against time to assemble a formidable squad to face Botswana champions Mochudi Centre Chiefs this weekend.

The two teams clash in the first leg of the preliminary round qualifier of the African Champions League this Sunday at the National Sports Stadium.

Pasuwa returned home Monday night from a successful African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament with the Zimbabwe national team in South Africa.

The three-time championship winning coach has no time to rest as he quickly shift focus to the Glamour Boys’ preparations for Africa’s premier club competition.

The former DeMbare midfielder will today assess his team’s preparedness at their Zimphos training base as they enter the final phase of the team’s Champions League preparations.

DeMbare have been preparing without Pasuwa and seven other senior players for the past six weeks as they were with the national team at the Chan Championships.

Goalkeeper George Chigova, Oscar Machapa, Partson Jaure, Augustine Mbara, Tawanda Muparati and newly acquired duo of defender Themba Ndlovu and midfielder Masimba Mambare were all part of the Warriors team that finished fourth.

Pasuwa’s assistant Philemon Mutyakureva and goalkeeper’s coach Tichaona Diya had been taking care of business in his absence with the help of club vice-chairperson and former coach David Mandigora.

DeMbare have been involved in some friendly matches as they intensify their preparations and on Sunday they played a goalless draw against How Mine. They also beat Black Rhinos 2-0 at Rimuka on Saturday.

It is by far not the kind of preparations that Dynamos wanted and with the Botswana beMobile Premiership in the second half of the season, DeMbare should expect a tough encounter against Chiefs.

The Botswana champions are in second place on the log standings after 20 rounds of action. Chiefs have 40 points and are trailing log leaders Township Rollers by just two points. The two teams played out a goalless draw at the weekend.

Pasuwa will however be hoping some of his players who featured regularly in the Warriors squad at the Chan will inspire his side to a comfortable first leg win.

If DeMbare manage to negotiate past their opening game against Mochudi, they will then meet the winner between AS Vita of DRC and Nigeria's Kano Pillars in the first round of the tournament.

A potentially-explosive final round clash against South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs is in waiting provided the Super Disk outfit; negotiate their way in the preliminary and first round clashes.

The Glamour Boys last reached the mini-league stage of Africa’s premier club competition in 2010 when they finished bottom of their group.

DeMbare who lost influential defender Gift Bello to FC Platinum last week will be counting on former Buffaloes defender Themba Ndlovu to feel the gap.

The Harare giants have generally done well in the preliminary round qualifiers in the past and they will be expected to do the business on Sunday.

It is in the later stages of the qualifiers where DeMbare have in the past three years struggled to get into the mini-league stage of the competition.

DeMbare have lost to North African opposition in the form of MC Algiers, Esperance and CA Bizertin in consecutive years in the final qualifying round.

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