The Herald (Harare)

13 November 2012

Zimbabwe: We're Ready to Shine - Mukoki

AFTER taking part in the African Champions League in 2009, Premiership side Monomotapa are now hoping to make a return to the African safari when they take part in the Caf Confederation Cup next year. Monoz beat FC Platinum 1-0 at Sakubva on Saturday to book their berth in the Mbada Diamonds Cup final. Irrespective of the result in the Cup final where they will meet Dynamos, Monoz have earned the right to play in the Caf Confederation Cup.

Harare giants Dynamos, who have a strong hand on the league championship title, are likely to opt for the more prestigious Champions League. Last year Dynamos won both the league and the Mbada Diamonds Cup.

DeMbare beat Motor Action 1-0 in the Cup final and the Mighty Bulls were given the other slot in the Caf Confederations Cup alongside Hwange, who had finished third.

With Mbada Diamonds dangling a US$150 000 subsidy for the continental inter-club campaign, Monomotapa chairman, Joseph Mukoki, yesterday said his club was prepared for the adventure.

"We want to take up that slot in the Caf Confederations Cup as long as there is that sponsorship package from Mbada.

"So we are looking at the same scenario like when Motor Action was helped.

"At the moment we want to go all the way to lift the Cup and entering the African safari, not as losing finalists," said Mukoki.

Mukoki believes their experience, in their maiden appearance in the African Champions League, could come in handy. "Our team has been in the African Champions League before.

"We are the only local team to reach the mini-league stage in the Champions League besides Dynamos," said Mukoki.

Monoz, Mukoki said, had set themselves a target of a top four finish and he hopes that remains achievable. "At the beginning of the season, we set a target of a top four finish.

"But our start was not all that good because we struggled for consistency," he said.

Monoz parted ways with Taurai Mangwiro mid-way in the season and Biggie Zuze is now in charge of the dressing room.

"Biggie is getting it right as he is motivating the players even if we are struggling financially.

"So we are not surprised that we could finish within the top four," said Mukoki. Last year Monomotapa battled against relegation.

"Remember that the team was almost out on sale. We had a crop of youngsters and we also took players from Eagles. But at the start of this season, we retained our experienced players like Kuda Musharu and Tawanda Nyamandwe who were at Motor Action," said Mukoki.

Monomotapa have charmed many neutrals with their passing game and are the only side to have beaten Highlanders this season.

They beat Bosso 3-0 in the league and then 3-2 in the Mbada Diamonds Cup.

But Mukoki is well aware that Monomotapa will be under pressure next season.

"If we had started the season so well, we could have been challenging for the championship right now. Maybe next year will go for broke and I know that we will be under-pressure to surpass the standards set this year.

"We now have a balanced side and we hope to continue next year.

"Maybe we will make one or two additions but we want to retain the bulk of the players," said Mukoki.

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