28 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Vultures Circle Pasuwa

THE 2014 Premier Soccer League season is about a month away but vultures are already circulating above Dynamos coach Kalisto Pasuwa, with some club board members aready lining up candidates to take over from the three-time championship winning coach should he fail to progress to the Caf Champions League mini-league stage.

Dynamos host the Democratic Republic of Congo's AS Vita in the first round of the continental club showcase at the National Sports stadium on Sunday hoping to take a healthy lead to the central African country next week.

While Pasuwa is busy trying to prepare his side adequately for the testing assignment, some board members are busy behind the scenes drawing up a "new technical team" to take over from the record-making coach.

Pasuwa led Dynamos to three consecutive league championships and had he failed in the last one, he would have been axed for Caps gaffer Taurai Mangwiro to take over.

But there is no respite for Pasuwa with some feeling that his failure on the continental stage is due to lack of experience, and former coaches Sunday Chidzambwa and David Mandigora could be more suited to the job.

Sources this week told IndependentSport the Dynamos board was divided with Bernard Marriot fighting a lone battle to save Pasuwa.

"It's only Marriot who is firmly behind Pasuwa; the others seem to have lost confidence in the coach delivering success on the continent," said the source.

"This could be his last chance if they have their way and some of the board members have already suggested that if Chidzambwa is pardoned from the Asiagate ban he could be the ideal candidate to take over. On the other hand others opine that Mandigora, who is the vice-chairman but is seemingly more interested in a place in the technical team, should be given the reins to steer the team forward."

Pasuwa declined to discuss the issue this week saying his mind was firmly on helping the team qualify to the next stage of the tournament.

But sources suggested Pasuwa is aware that his position would come into question if he fails to progress to the money-spinning stage.

If Dynamos win this tie they could face South African champions, Kaizer Chiefs.

It is understood cracks emerged late last year over participation in the continental showcase after sponsors BancABC indicated they were no longer in a position to fund the expensive venture, with some board members suggesting the team could do without the tournament while Marriot led a clique that pushed for participation.

While on the surface everything has been going well, there are simmering problems with players complaining of nonpayment of their bonuses, some of which date to last season.

There have also been complaints about Dynamos' US$200 winning bonus with other clubs such as Harare City paying US$500 for a win on the local front.

DeMbare is sweating on the availability of midfielder Walter Mukanga who is struggling for fitness with a groin injury.

Pasuwa said they would be wary of their opponents who have experience playing in continental competitions and also boast a strong squad.

"From what we have gathered, they are a strong team and have the money to go out for foreigners as well," said Pasuwa. "I think it paints a picture of what we are up against but we will try to concentrate on our own game and hopefully we can produce the results. We will monitor Mukanga hoping that he can make it; he is a clever player and brings in a lot of energy to the team."

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