16 March 2013

Zimbabwe/Tunisia: Cold Conditions a Concern for Pasuwa

DYNAMOS coach Callisto Pasuwa is concerned about the cold weather conditions prevailing in Bizerte but remained optimistic his charges will be able to match their hosts CA Bizertin in a Champions League fixture tomorrow afternoon.

DeMbare arrived in Tunisia on Thursday afternoon and were welcomed by low temperatures ranging from eight degrees celcius and not exceeding 20 degrees celcius in average. The team held two training sessions yesterday in tracksuits at the Bsiri stadium, a few hundred metres away from the match venue, the October 15 Stadium, under heavy cloud coupled with a light snowfall during the session.

While Pasuwa was worried with injuries that were rocking his camp over the past week, yesterday the Castle Lager PSL Coach of the Year had two more headaches to worry about as players felt uncomfortable with the Mediterranean dishes being served at their hotel. "The weather is not very friendly in these parts of the world. We are used to play in temperatures ranging from 20-25 degrees back home but we have to do with what prevails here," said Pasuwa. "There is, however, nothing much we can do about it except to encourage them to stay warm and put on warm clothes."

Pasuwa said he was concerned that most of the DeMbare players could not take their food yesterday. "The food is very foreign to us and we have players who are having serious problems eating it, like (Partson) Jaure, (Cliff) Sekete, (Artwell) Mukandi, (Augustine) Mbara, (Gift) Bello, (Francesco) Zekumbawire, (Devon) Chafa and Thomas Magorimbo.

"We have asked the doctor to organise with the hotel staff to see if we can get more of what we are comfortable with like rice or at least pasta. Jaure was actually weak today and

I noticed he was not at his best and it is because of his failure to eat properly," said Pasuwa.

The DeMbare coach, a veteran of many African battles in his own right as a player, said he expects the Tunisians to come at DeMbare piling pressure and yesterday's training sessions were dedicated to making sure the team regroups early in defence and maintain tactical shape when they lose possession in order to repel danger.

"The North Africans play high pressure football and they will bombard you, especially in the first 20 minutes, forcing you to get exposed, concede freekicks and get cautioned and that is why I am emphasising on maintaining team shape so that we don't get desperate and give away set pieces," said Pasuwa.

On the health bill, he said the technical team will assess the situation tomorrow but all the players, who are under the spotlight, trained without any problems yesterday. "The doctor is working on them but if we are not satisfied with their fitness, we will not risk anyone in such temperatures. Tawanda (fractured index finger) is shying away from challenges, but when in possession, he is his usual best. Devon is also taking long to get into groove because of the groin, but once he is warmed up he appears fine," Pasuwa said.

Pasuwa's assertion gave the clearest of indications that the deputy skipper might be dropped with his place most likely to be taken by Thomas Magorimbo who was playing in that role during yesterday's morning training session. Indications from training show that Magorimbo will be joined in the five-man midfield by the combative Devon Chafa, Stephen Alimenda, ageless Murape Murape and the stylish Cliff Sekete.

Usual leftback Augustine Mbara appeared to be winning the right to partner the no-nonsense Jaure at the heart of defence with another imposing player, Morris Kadzola, likely to slot in at rightback.

Ocean Mushure is now almost certain to reclaim his place on the left after overcoming his injury worries while Pasuwa's preference in attack was not clear as young Farai Mupasiri battled with Zekumbawire for the team's goalscoring brief and so did goalkeepers Mukandi and George Chigova.

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