DeMbare, City target bright start

HARARE - For Dynamos and Harare City the Independence Trophy semi-final represents an opportunity to put down an early impression and give their expectant fans a pre-championship tonic.

With the onset of the 2014 Castle Premiership season fast approaching, the two teams must be relishing the prospect of getting their domestic season off to a bright start by reaching the final of the Uhuru Cup.

The Uhuru Cup, which marks Independence celebrations, will this year serve as the curtain raiser to the new season after sponsors of the Charity shield, NetOne, announced they would not be bankrolling the tournament this year.

And with Dynamos, the reigning champions, and City, who finished third on goal difference to DeMbare, both on a relentless quest for success this year, Sunday’s match should unfold into a keenly-fought encounter.

The Glamour Boys will be aiming for their second trophy in the pre-season after beating Highlanders 2-0 in the Bob 90 Super Cup last week.

“The Independence Cup is one of those competitive matches ahead of the new season.

“It’s a game between the best two teams from last year,” Dynamos manager Richard Chihoro told the Daily News yesterday.

“There is no doubting the prestige of this match. We are starting the season next week and it’s always good to launch the season on a positive note.

“Victory on Sunday would also provide a fitting reward for the hard work put in by the players in training so far.

“After our commitments in the Champions League, we had no opportunity to evaluate the level of the team in proper matches. This game gives us the chance to have a closer look at the team and assess the progress of the new signings.

“There is always a high level of expectancy at Dynamos, especially after the team won the league title in the past three years. But we are going to play against the strongest squad in the league on paper.

“I genuinely believe that with the signings they made for this season, Harare City have improved from last year.”

The Sunshine Boys’ season is likely to depend heavily on how they go about their business without the talismanic winger Silas Songani, who joined Danish side Sønderjyske at the beginning of  the year.  Harare City coach Bigboy Mawiwi has however brought in Benson Maglasi from CAPS United as a direct replacement for the winger, while unveiling other seven new players to bolster his squad.

The other seven signings are Francisco Zekumbawire, Takudzwa Chimwemwe, Agrippa Muripa, Timire Mamvura, Misheck Mburayi, Mhleli Sibanda and Arnold Chivheya.

And on paper, these are all terrific signings to add on the impressive squad already on City books from last season.

“This match is definitely more than just a pre-season friendly,” Mawiwi said.

“It is the first competitive fixture and there is a trophy at stake but we are going into the match with a number of other objectives in mind.

“I am satisfied with the work we have done so far.

“The players have behaved like true professionals and they quickly adjusted themselves to the changes we have introduced.

“We also have a host of new players but they have settled in nicely. Unlike previous seasons, we haven’t made drastic changes to the squad; we only engaged few new players.”

The other semi-final of the Uhuru Cup will see Bulawayo giants Highlanders facing Lloyd Mutasa’s newly assembled FC Platinum at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.

Winners of the weekend’s semi-final matches will then clash at the National Sports Stadium on April 18 for the main Independence celebrations.

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