The Herald (Harare)

26 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Pasuwa Eyes African Safari

DEMBARE's coach Callisto Pasuwa, basking in the glory of winning another double this season, says the club should now convert the domestic success onto the continent as the team begins to prepare for the African Safari.

Speaking yesterday after playing in a social game yesterday, the gaffer said the celebrations would be cut short and is now planning for the next season.

"It is a great achievement in terms of coaching to win two major trophies back-to-back. But I believe I am still learning and there is more to come. I am open to criticism and my door is open to anyone who wants to help me or contribute anything.

"We finished the season on Saturday and we will sit down with the club executive and map our way forward. We will give them our report back and then start preparing for next season. We will look at each and every player's contribution and retain those we need and offload those whom we are not interested in.

"In Champions League we don't want pretenders but we need a strong squad which have fighters. We cannot be a Dynamos team which will win everything on the local scene and struggle in Africa," said Pasuwa.

The gaffer said most of the players' contracts are expiring this year while some players might be getting contracts with foreign teams. While the former Dynamos midfielder could not reveal the names of the players on the club's radar he could mention some of the positions, which have to bolstered.

"We need at least two goalkeepers, one an experienced one and good goalie who can compete with George (Chigova) and the other one should be at least an Under-20 so that he grows in the system.

"We are also looking at central defence because in Africa there are issues like height which have to be considered. And we would also want to boost our defensive link as well as the central midfield and maybe add two strikers but all this will depend on which players are leaving the club.

"Some of the players have their managers and would be looking for contracts outside and we cannot really stand in their way, " said Pasuwa.

Dynamos midfielder Denver Mukamba and Simba Sithole are some of the players who could secure contracts in the South African Premiership.

"We have players like Tichaona Mabvaura and Wonder (Sithole) who can play on the left side of midfield. Wonder is now fit and we would be registering him next season, he wasn't registered but has been training with us and has fully recovered.

"We had 25 players registered this season and we felt the number of matches they played were too much as players are bound to have injuries considering that they played in all tournaments from the NetOne Charity Shield and Independence Trophy.

"We cannot divulge the names of the players we are interested in at the moment as we are yet to finalise anything with them or their clubs.

"We don't want to start preparing for Africa when it is too late because if you look at clubs such as those in Tunisia they are already preparing for next year's matches and do everything in time. So our preparations have to be through and we have to be united if we are to do well in these tournaments," said Pasuwa.

The coach also hailed his players for their fighting spirit but said credit should also go to the club sponsor BancABC who made sure their welfare was well catered for.

"Credit goes to the BancABC sponsorship as this really helped us to win a double again this season. The players were getting their salaries on time and leaving us to just concentrate on the pitch. I would like to thank the technical team, my assistants Tonderai Ndiraya and Tichaona Diya, mudhara Chihoro (Richard) and junior coaches Philemon Mutyakurewa and Herbert Marowa.

"It wasn't easy to achieve all this but we were united and worked as a team.

"I would take criticism from anyone in the technical team, be it from my assistants to the junior coaches, whenever they felt I should have done things differently

"Manager Chihoro, was like a brother and father. He is senior to all of us but he was there going out of his way to make things flow. And I would also like to thank the executive led by Mubaiwa (Keny) as well as the board.

"I would like to thank the players for their fighting spirit. I remember they were demoralised when they didn't get their Charity Shield prize money but we told them if we win more tournaments we would get more money and they capped it with a double. At times we would have problems with some of the players in terms of discipline but it happens there are some ups and downs.

"The supporters at times would not understand this as at the stadium they would be expecting such a player to be playing but he would be sidelined as part of disciplinary measures," said Pasuwa.

The gaffer said this season he was particularly impressed with young forward Farai Mupasiri, who burst onto the scene and went on to deliver.

"I took him from the Under-20s when I went to their training and watched him playing. We were having problems with our strike force at that time. And when he came into the first team he stood the heat, was disciplined, had a strong fighting spirit such that our supporters even forgot he was just a youngster, because of the impact he had made in a short space of time and they were demanding more from him.

"He has impressed me and would be looking for that from the juniors, that when they get a chance like this they should grab it and use it," said Pasuwa.

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