PREMIERSHIP kings Dynamos got their 2013 Champions League preparations underway in the capital yesterday with the majority of their new recruits having a feel of the Harare giants' training.
Agile goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi and exciting midfielder Russell Madamombe, who both join from Mbada Diamonds Cup runners-up Monomotapa, were present on Day One of training at Raylton Sports Club yesterday.
It was a similar tale for former Mwana Africa anchorman man Stephen Alimenda, Sydney Linyama and defender Morris Kadzola who joins from lower division side Sprouting via Motor Action where he was on loan last season.
Coach Callisto Pasuwa was happy to begin preparations for what looks another tough season for the league and cup double champions with 20 of the 25-man side that he has registered for the Champions League onslaught taking part.
Dynamos are now expecting their new foreign pair of Ugandan striker Boban Ziruntusa and Zambian centre back Aaron Katebe to join the Glamour Boys family today.
Ziruntusa and Katebe were among the five players who skipped the opening day of what promises to be a busy schedule ahead for the Harare giants.
DeMbare have made it clear that they would want the best preparation they can afford in their efforts to maintain their dominance in the domestic league and to turn around their fortunes in the Champions League.
Despite being the dominant force locally, Dynamos have been unimpressive in the Champions League failing to go beyond the second round in the 2011 and 2012 campaigns.
Ziruntusa who will be making his Premiership debut this year joins Dynamos from Division One side Twalumba while Katebe crosses the floor from league rivals Hwange.
Pasuwa, who conducted the session with the aid of his assistant Tonderai Ndiraya and goalkeepers' coach Tichaona Diya, yesterday said the pair was expected to arrive today from their home countries.
DeMbare, however, kicked off their preparation with most of their new signings joining them on their first day.
Pasuwa was pleased with the attendance but from the old stock, only midfielder Milton Makopa and striker Roderick Mutuma were absent because of personal reasons while Devon Chafa asked to be released early.
Mutuma who is expected to turn up today is also due to leave for trials with South African Premiership side Bloemfontein Celtic which start next Monday.
"I was quite impressed by the turnout. Unlike what we have seen happening at Dynamos in the previous seasons where a few people would respond on the first day, today we had most of our players here.
"Only a few could not make it and we expect some of them tomorrow. I hear Boban and Katebe are travelling and they could be arriving tomorrow," said Pasuwa.
DeMbare began life in 2013 with some light training and the coach said they would pick up the tempo as the week progresses.
Pasuwa said the first day was dedicated to introductions and loosening the muscles since the players who have had to make do with a short break, had been inactive for the last three weeks.
Seniors players Murape Murape and last season's stand-in skipper Tawanda Muparati also took time to welcome the new players "home".
The coach also outlined the plan and the vision for the new season.
"Normally you wouldn't want to overload the players on the first day of training. We are coming from a break and players risk getting injured if you push them hard.
"It was an opportunity to give introductions to our new players and explaining to them generally what we are looking to achieve.
"The new players need to have a clear picture of what to expect at Dynamos because the pressure they will face here is different from what they experienced at the clubs they were playing for," said Pasuwa.
However, Hwange striker Francisco Zekumbawire who is at the centre of delicate negotiations between the two teams was conspicuous by his absence.
DeMbare are still pushing to get the striker's signature but Hwange are understood to be making life difficult for the champions by attaching a huge price tag on the player.
Hwange have initially put the player on US$130 000 and by yesterday Dynamos were still trying to find a common ground with the coal miners.
DeMbare are also still talking to Chicken Inn for the release of holding midfielder Linyama.
But they have since sealed the deals to secure the services of Mukandi and Madamombe.
The Glamour Boys are also now close to finalising a deal for Kadzola, having already agreed personal terms with the former Zimbabwe youth international defender.
Pasuwa confirmed that Dynamos have given two-year extensions to utility player Thomas Magorimbo, goalkeeper George Chigova and Tawanda Muparati whose contracts had run out last week.
Midfielder Muparati had been linked with a number of clubs outside the borders but it now appears he has committed himself to the Glamour Boys after penning a new deal.
While DeMbare appear to have managed to tie down most of their players from the previous season, the Glamour Boys are still to finalise negotiations with former Eagles and Black Rhinos midfielder Chafa.
The Glamour Boys are looking to go on their pre-season camp to Kariba next Monday while Pasuwa is looking forward for a short term attachment in South Africa during the pre-season.
"The plan is still on. I have said that I need at least two weeks with the team and then go for the attachment. We are looking to go for the pre-season camp in Kariba next Monday and the executive is handling the issue.
"All these things need money and I believe they have been finalising on the financial aspects."
Pasuwa also said DeMbare, who open their campaign this year with a preliminary round tie against Lesotho Correctional Services in the Champions League, would also try to engage in international friendlies against top clubs from South Africa or from North and West Africa.
DeMbare have since sent enquiries to some Supa Diski clubs but are still awaiting response as most of the teams had closed shop for the festive season holidays.
Pasuwa said they would also consider other opposition within the region should they fail to find joy from the South African clubs.
But all those hopes are subject to funds permitting at the Harare giants who have been battling for resources to cater for players' signing on fees.