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Its Dembare versus Chiefs

by Sports Reporter
17 Dec 2013 at 03:40hrs | Views
FOR the first time in years, Dynamos don't have to face North African opposition, who have proved tough opponents for the Glamour Boys, for a place in the group phase of the Champions League next year. And, if all goes according to plan, they could be in for a showdown against Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa for the right to play in the group stages of the Champions League.

DeMbare coach Callisto Pasuwa has greeted the 2014 Chonampions League draw with caution after the Glamour Boys were paired with Botswana's Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the preliminary round set to begin next February.

The Harare giants will open their account at home over the weekend of 7-9 February before crossing the border to neighbouring Botswana for the return leg a week later.

If they are successful, Dynamos will find themselves in the first round playing the winners of the match between AS Vita of Democratic Republic of Congo and Kano Pillars of Nigeria who clash in another preliminary round tie.

The Harare giants should also have it at the back of their minds that they are likely to face South African giants Kaizer Chiefs in the group stage decider should both teams make the second round.

Chiefs will clash with lowly Black Africa of Namibia in the preliminary round. The Absa Premiership football kings will then face the winner between minnows CNAPS Sports of Madagascar and Mozambique's Liga Muculmana in the first round.

The Soweto giants are favoured to win those rounds and have a fairly easier route than DeMbare.

Pasuwa, however, said Dynamos will have to concentrate on their opening match against Mochudi Centre Chiefs first and then take each game as it comes.

Chiefs won the Botswana title in the last two years under Zimbabwe coach Madinda Ndlovu, who unfortunately parted ways with the club early this year. The side is now under the guidance of little-known former Serbian footballer Dragojlo Stanojlovic who was appointed in August.

Chiefs are also home to the former Gunners' duo of Elvis Meleka, who is the reigning Botswana Player of the Year, and defender Arnold Chaka who was the captain of the championship winning side.

"The fact that they are in the Champions League means that they are champions where they are coming from and they should be treated with the respect they deserve," he said. "It doesn't matter how small or big their profile is because there are no small teams in football these days. Instead of wasting our time looking at any of the teams that we might be facing, we hope to spend our time preparing ourselves for any challenge. We need to be thorough because every game at that stage needs a serious approach. It's also important that we use our home advantage since we are starting at home," said Pasuwa.

In 2010 Dynamos, under Elvis Chiweshe, played a Botswana side, Gaborone United, in the second round and triumphed 4-2 on aggregate to get the ticket to the mini-league stage. DeMbare had trounced the modest side 4-1 in the first leg at the National Sports Stadium but they went on to lose the return leg 1-0 in Gaborone.

That was the last time the Harare giants reached the group stage of the Champions League as they crashed out in the first round the following season in controversial fashion at the hands of Algerian side MC Alger.

DeMbare have also been disappointing in the last two outings and Pasuwa believes they need proper preparations to make an impact next year.

"As I have said before, we didn't do well in the last two or three seasons and we need to improve. We know the factors that held us back and we should be working to correct those things. With the available time, I think the technical team will need to sit down with our executive and present our training programme. We will then see how best to go about the preparations from there," said Pasuwa.

Holders Al Ahly of Egypt, Coton Sport (Cameroon), DRC giants T.P Mazembe, Al Hilal (Sudan), Club Sportif Sfaxien and Esperance (both Tunisia) were given byes and will start at the first round.

But while DeMbare will be looking for positive results next season, the Harare giants were yesterday still struggling to put their squad together after encountering several challenges with their targets in the past week.

They managed to submit a 24-member squad to Zifa for registration and basically retained most of the players in their squad with only midfielders Ronald Chitiyo, Walter Mukanga and tough-tackling defender Themba Ndlovu the new additions.

The Harare giants also indicated that negotiations to bring on board former CAPS United and Ajax Cape Town midfielder Tafadzwa Rusike were at advanced stage.

Dynamos were also interested in Chicken Inn's Kuda Mahachi, Highlanders trio of Peter "Rio" Moyo, Munyaradzi Diya and Milton Ncube but it appears the talks have broken down because the club could not reach common ground with the players on financial issues.

DeMbare, however, added Under-20 goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva, Devon Chafa, Russell Madamombe and Boban Zirintusa who were missing in the initial 19-member squad drawn up by the technical team last week.

Dynamos squad
Goalkeepers - George Chigova, Artwell Mukandi, Tatenda Mukuruva
Defenders - Augustine Mbara, Gift Bello, Partson Jaure, Thomas Magorimbo, Ocean Mushure, Sydney Linyama, Victor Kamhuka, Oscar Machapa, Themba Ndlovu
Midfielders - Murape Murape, Devon Chafa, Tawanda Muparati, Cliff Sekete, Stephen Alimenda, Russell Madamombe, Boban Zirintusa, Ronald Chitiyo, Walter Mukanga
Strikers - Simba Sithole, Patrick Khumbula, Washington Pakamisa

Preliminary Round
(First leg: 7 - 9 February 2014, Second Leg: 14 - 16 February 2014)

First Round
(First Leg: 28 February - 02 March 2014, Second Leg : 07 - 09 March 2014)

Second Round
(First Leg: 21 - 23 March 2014, Second Leg: 28- 30 March 2014)

Source - herald
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