8 March 2013

Zimbabwe: 'We Were Like Amateurs'

THE Dynamos board of directors have conceded that the chaos, which left their players stranded in Lesotho on Monday, was unacceptable and painted an ugly picture of a Glamour Boys' team that operated like amateurs.

The board has reprimanded the club's leadership and urged them to be more professional in the way they conduct their business following an embarrassing gaffe that saw the team missing their flight in Lesotho this week.

DeMbare, who progressed to the first round of the Champions League despite losing 0-1 to Lesotho Correctional Services last Sunday, had a weekend to forget after arriving at the airport late the following day and missing their return flight from Maseru.

The Harare giants were forced to spend an extra night in Lesotho, where they slept at a hostel owned by the Lesotho Football Association, and they arrived home on Tuesday in three batches.

The team had also experienced a nightmarish flight to Maseru last Friday as they were caught up in bad weather mid-air and their plane was forced to return to Johannesburg.

However, it was the return trip that had left the Glamour Boys family playing a blame game with the players signing a petition denouncing vice-chairman Webster Chikengezha, who was handling the travel arrangements.

Chikengezha, who is also the acting secretary general, appears to have become an easy scapegoat as he had arrived at the airport early and completed the players' check-in process and even got their boarding passes.

But for Chikengezha to leave his team behind, as he did, and fly to Johannesburg, was not proper and this has left him at the mercy of critics.

The secretary of the club's board of directors, Chris Kasiyazi, who was also part of the delegation in Lesotho, said there was breakdown in communication as the team arrived at the airport around 2:30pm when the boarding gates had already closed.

Kasiyazi said the club needed to avoid such humiliating episodes to protect their brand as one of the biggest clubs in Africa.

"I was part of the trip in Maseru and I briefed the board of what transpired there. It appears there was a communication breakdown between the acting secretary-general and the rest of the team," said Kasiyazi.

"But such things should not be happening at a big institution like Dynamos. We have engaged the individuals concerned because we don't want to look like amateurs in the way we do our things.

"Otherwise, we are happy with how the club has been run this year. So far, so good. These people are professionals in their own right and I hope we will improve in the areas that are lacking. We have been in Africa for some time and we should be discreet always."

Kasiyazi said the board was fully behind the executive and urged the team to work in unity as they prepare for more difficult assignments ahead.

The Harare giants, who had carried a healthy lead to Lesotho from the first leg, progressed on 3-1 aggregate victory.

They now face CA Bizertin of Tunisia in the first round next week.

Kasiyazi said the Dynamos board met this week to review the team's progress and the Maseru trip and professed ignorance on the petition that the players have written against their leadership denouncing the blunder in Maseru.

"Honestly, as the board secretary, I haven't seen the petition. There is nothing to hide if it is there and such communication would need to follow proper internal communication protocol," said Kasiyazi.

"But what I can confirm is that we had a routine meeting yesterday where we were looking on how things are going. Not much was discussed though since we are coming from a win in the preliminary round of the Champions League competition.

"It's sad we lost the second leg in Lesotho but the board members are generally happy that the team has progressed to the next stage.

"Now that we are done with the preliminary round, the focus is now on the first round where we hope to do better both on the field and in terms of administration."

Meanwhile, DeMbare's most successful coach, Sunday "Mhofu"Chidzambwa, has hailed Callisto Pasuwa for what he has achieved in the past two years.

Chidzambwa, the technical director of Super Diski side Black Leopards, guided DeMbare to its finest hour when the club reached the final of the African Champions League in 1998.

The veteran coach is back on the Leopards' bench, working closely with coach Abel Makhubela, and the results have been improving, including a 2-1 win over Golden Arrows on Wednesday with Abbas Amidu among the scorers. Chidzambwa still keeps a close eye on his old team and follows their progress at home and on the continent.

"I am very happy for Pasuwa. The young man has done wonders and I feel proud because he is my product," said Chidzambwa.

"What else would you want from a coach who can win a double and the following season he defends all the two trophies?

"He is just great. I might be in South Africa but if I need be honest that man does a lot of consultations.

"If I come to Zimbabwe he invites me to come and watch his training wonzwa oti 'mudhara team iri sei, pandiri kutadza ndepapi?'

"He is just level-headed and I always wish him all the best."

Chidzambwa backed Pasuwa's decision to give the captaincy to veteran forward Murape Murape, but challenged other teams to rise and challenge DeMbare.

He said it was important, for the domestic Premiership, for CAPS United and Highlanders to challenge Dynamos because the competition would see players and coaches working hard and the level of the game would go a notch up.

Right now, said the veteran coach, DeMbare had no competition on the local scene and there was a danger that would give them a false sense of superiority. "Dynamos has no competition in Zimbabwe.

"How can you have a team winning all the trophies all the time. It has been years since CAPS United and Highlanders beat Dynamos saka vari kutamba nani?" said Chidzambwa.

"I am very worried because when Dynamos meet teams from North Africa in the Champions League they end up struggling because of the level of competition they get at home.

"It's high time CAPS United and Bosso give Dynamos a tougher challenge."

He said he still remembers the epic battles they fought with the Green Machine both as a player and a coach because they left a lot of emotional and physical scars.

"Those days, the matches were tightly contested and I still remember when we lost by seven goals to CAPS United," said Chidzambwa.

"I hope CAPS and Highlanders will do enough to give Dynamos the much-needed competition".

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