The Herald (Harare)

27 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Dembare's Early Preps - Champions Eye Long Training Camp

CHAMPIONS Dynamos are not leaving anything to chance and have lined up an early pre-season training camp that will get underway in the capital on January 2. DeMbare are determined to make up for poor showings in the last two editions of the Champions League in which they failed to reach the group stages.

Last year, DeMbare seemed to have secured a mini-league berth, only for Lloyd Mutasa's men to blow a 4-1 first leg lead achieved at Rufaro to fall on the away goals' rule after losing to MC Alger of Algeria 3-0.

It then got worse this year when the dreams of making it to the Champions League last eight went up in flames following a comprehensive 7-1 aggregate defeat to eventual runners up Esperance of Tunisia.

It was also Dynamos' heaviest loss in their champions League history.

Although they lost heavily to Esperance, DeMbare had a chance to redeem themselves in the second tier Confederation Cup against Interclube of Angola.

But again, Callisto Pasuwa and his charges could not negotiate their way past the Angolan police outfit after being held 0-0 at home by InterClube and losing 1-0 in Luanda.

Despite being a dominant force on the domestic front in the last two seasons in which they have won back-to-back league and cup doubles, Dynamos know they cannot afford to falter on the continental stage again.

The Glamour Boys have also lost their seeding gin the last two years that they have failed to make an impact in the Champions League and have now been relegated to having to start their campaign at the preliminary stage.

The 2013 Champions League draw was not kind to them either with tough assignments awaiting them should they, as largely expected, sail past Lesotho Correctional Services in the preliminary round.

Should they beat Lesotho Correctional Services, DeMbare would have to clear the tough challenge likely to be in the form of Libyan outfit Ettihad who must beat Tunisian side Club Berzet in another preliminary round tie.

An even tougher hurdle also stands in the way of the Glamour Boys in the second round with African champions Al Ahly lying in ambush.

It is against this background that coach Pasuwa and his club's management have targeted early preparations.

Dynamos chairman Kenny Mubaiwa revealed yesterday that preparations for the 2013 season would start in earnest next Wednesday, cutting short the champions' New Year's Day celebrations.

Mubaiwa said the Harare giants would need to maximise on the little time they have to prepare for both the Champions League and the domestic competitions, which will start later in March.

The DeMbare chairman said the technical team has since handed over their training programme and said the executive is working on sourcing funds needed for a meaningful pre-season training camp.

"We would want to have a thorough preparation, funds permitting.

"Our target as a club is to maintain our dominance in the domestic competitions by winning everything on offer next season.

"We also want to go further in the Champions League. It was disappointing in the last two seasons, but we cannot continue lamenting what happened in the past.

"It's important that we pick ourselves up and work even harder than we did the last time.

"Subject to the availability of funds, we would want these guys to go out on a pre-season camp somewhere outside Harare.

"Plans are also at an advanced stage to send the coach to South Africa on attachment.

"The resources for that are now available as I speak, but we might have a problem on the timing because wouldn't want that to interfere in a big way with our training camp.

"So we will have to find the most convenient time. I understand most of these South African clubs will resume training soon after the holidays and we would have him go as soon as possible once we reach an agreement with the club," said Mubaiwa.

The Dynamos chairman said the coaches needed time to mould a competitive outfit after bringing in about eight new players to strengthen their squad for next season's campaigns.

DeMbare have signed the former Monomotapa duo of midfielder Russell Madamombe and goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi.

Defender Morris Kadzola, midfielder Stephen Alimenda, striker Boban Zirintusa, Sydney Linyama, and the former Hwange pair of Aaron Katebe and Francesco Zekumbawire are also set to become part of the Glamour Boys squad next season.

Mubaiwa said DeMbare are also looking to have international friendly matches with South African teams to give the players the right exposure before plunging into the jungles of the African game with their Champions League date against Lesotho Correctional Services in mid-February.

The Harare giants are hoping to take advantage of the South African Premiership break that has been caused by the African Cup of Nations between January and February and have approached Absa champions Orlando Pirates, Bidvest Wits and Sunday Chidzambwa's Black Leopards for possible engagements.

"We have brought in new players and it's only proper if the coaches can get enough time to work with their team and formulate new combinations.

"There are a number of issues to look at during this period and this can only be done through drills and watching them play in competitive friendly games," said Mubaiwa.

DeMbare however, are still to get responses to their requests for friendly games.

Mubaiwa said they are still hoping to get feedback in the next week when the teams return from the festive break.

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