15 February 2014

Zimbabwe/Botswana: Chiefs Turn Hostile Hosts

HARARE giants Dynamos were yesterday up in arms over the frosty reception they got from their hosts Mochudi Centre Chiefs after they were made to wait for about six hours before they could be booked into a hotel.DeMbare arrived in Gaborone yesterday morning, after spending almost 24 hours on the road, for the return leg of their Champions League tie against the BeMobile league champions scheduled for tomorrow at the University of Botswana Stadium.

The team left Harare on Thursday morning and after travelling for about 1 068kms they found no one from neither the club nor the association waiting for them at the Grand Palm Hotel where they had initially been directed.

It turned out that Chiefs had just made enquiries at the hotel and the DeMbare contingent, who desperately needed rest, could not be accommodated since the bookings were not done.

Fatigue was a big factor following the long, overnight journey. They were, however, later taken to Tlotlo Hotel and Conference Centre and the bookings had to be done while they waited.

Chiefs, just like Dynamos, are also facing financial challenges which almost led them to consider pulling out of the Champions League this year.

DeMbare coach Callisto Pasuwa was not happy with the way they were received by their hosts but urged his players to ignore the sad chapter and concentrate on their mission -- which is to win tomorrow's match.

"Africa being Africa, I think these guys (from Mochudi) knew that we were coming and this was just a delaying tactic maybe to unsettle us," said Pasuwa.

"But we have been in worse situations before and we have been telling these guys (the players) to forget about everything they have encountered.

"When you are away, you are away. You must always expect anything when travelling for away games. We are here for a mission and the moment we step onto the pitch our target is to play and win."

The team had one training session in the evening to try and shake off the fatigue. They are scheduled to stretch again this morning and have another evening session at the match venue.

Pasuwa said fatigue and match fitness were genuine concerns in his camp and he has organised another light training session tomorrow morning at 9am, just a few hours before kick-off.

"It was a very tiresome journey and most of the guys' legs are swollen," said Pasuwa. "We were on the road for almost 24 hours and we are going to see how we can work things out without making the situation worse.

"Many of the guys have been complaining but I wouldn't want to dwell much on that issue. Actually that is the reason we brought 20 players.

"We will see who is fit to last 90 minutes and who is not and play them accordingly. We have also brought some guys who did not play last week and are motivated to be part of the team."

Pasuwa drafted Zimbabwe international, Tafadzwa Rusike, who could make his debut for the Glamour Boys tomorrow. Rusike missed the first tie last Sunday. Big forward, Washington Pakamisa, was the hero with his double strike.

DeMbare travelled by road as a cost-cutting measure following the withdrawal of their sponsors BancABC, who indicated that they will not able to partner them in Africa this year.

They are carrying a healthy 3-0 lead from the first leg played last week at the National Sports Stadium. Pasuwa said they have not written Chiefs off yet despite their big cushion.

"Chiefs are not a bad side at all and I think a high level concentration will be key. Football is a 90-minute game and any slight mistake could open the door to disaster," said Pasuwa.

"Remember we scored three goals inside 45 minutes when we played them in the first leg. So this is a new game altogether and we need maximum concentration especially at the back because these guys will be searching for goals.

"But we will not just sit back and let them do what they want with us. We would want to make sure that we get a good result and finish this round on a high note."

Dynamos squad:

G. Chigova, P. Mukuruva, O. Machapa, T. Magorimbo, A. Mbara, O. Mushure, P. Jaure, T. Ndlovu, V. Kamhuka, S. Linyama, S. Alimenda, W. Mukanga, T. Muparati, M. Murape, M. Mambare, T. Rusike, C. Sekete, R. Chitiyo, S. Sithole, W. Pakamisa.

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