The Herald (Harare)

8 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Dembare Suffer Yet Another Setback

HARARE giants Dynamos failed to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo as scheduled yesterday to wrap up a miserable week for the Champions League contestants who face AS Vita Club in the return leg of the first round tie in Kinshasa tomorrow.The Glamour Boys were supposed to leave around lunch time aboard an Ethiopian Airways passenger jet but they cancelled their flight at the last minute amid reports they failed to secure seats.

The side was now expected to leave around 2am today aboard Kenya Airways via Nairobi and arrive in Kinshasa mid-morning.

Under the new travel arrangement the 27-member delegation, which include 18 players and nine officials, had to check in at the Harare Airport at midnight for the early morning flight.

They would then arrive in Nairobi at 6am where they would wait for two hours at the airport to get their connecting flight to the DRC where they are due by 10am.

Dynamos secretary-general Webster Chikengezha, however, said the delay was not of their making as they had to organise new travel arrangements after getting information from Ethiopian Airways that their return trip on Monday will no longer be possible.

"This delay is something that is out of our powers. We had made a provisional booking with the Ethiopian Airways on Monday but we had not finalised the list of our players since there were some guys with knocks.

"We were not sure who among them will travel or not but we did finalise everything on Thursday and when we returned to the agency for the printing of the tickets that's when we were told that the return flight on Monday had been cancelled, with the next flight only the following Wednesday.

"This meant that we had to stay an extra day in DRC and we had to pay for that stay from our own pockets, which was going to be a burden considering our financial situation.

"So we had to cancel the flight and make a new arrangement with Kenya Airways," said Chikengezha.

DeMbare have a crucial away assignment against AS Vita Club after the teams played a goalless draw in the first leg at the National Sports Stadium last week.

But their preparations this week suffered a big dent as they lost two days of training after the players boycotted duty demanding payment of outstanding bonuses.

It had to take the intervention of the club's patron Webster Shamu who chipped in with some financial support and addressed the players reminding them of the huge responsibility they have this week.

The Dynamos players were owed various amounts in winning bonuses stretching from last year when they bagged the club's record 20th league title, and a third on the trot, under Callisto Pasuwa.

But just when everything had appeared to return to a state of normalcy, another setback was on the way yesterday.

DeMbare met for an early morning workout and were hoping to leave in the afternoon.

The technical team had to slot in another training session late in the day to make up for lost time following the two days of crippling industrial action by the players.

Pasuwa made few changes to the side after bringing in midfielder Devon Chafa who missed the opening stages of the campaign serving a Fifa suspension.

Chafa, who had been conducting individual training sessions to keep fit since his ban for testing positive to a banned substance late last year, started training with the team this week and Pasuwa was impressed with his fitness level.

But he lacks game time, coming at a time when some have featured in a number of games to shake off the pre-season rust.

Striker Washington Pakamisa, who started in all the club's three matches in the competition so far, was dropped after he failed to recover from a knee injury.

DeMbare carried only one specialist striker Simba Sithole as the other forward Patrick Khumbula also failed to make the trip.

Their defensive kingpin Partson Jaure and Sydney Linyama, who were doubtful because sickness, were certified fit to travel.

Newboy Walter Mukanga, who missed the first leg with a groin injury, is also back to full fitness and will be available for selection tomorrow.

DeMbare face an early exit in the competition if they lose against the Congolese outfit.

AS Vita Club showed good organisation in the first leg, in which they could have humiliated the Harare giants in their backyard, with a little bit of luck.

Considering their away record, Dynamos need to overcome a host of setbacks to grab a positive result.

DeMbare cannot be ruled out of the contest as yet. They still believe they will be involved in the Dream Clash against Kaizer Chiefs in the second round of the tournament.

A scoring draw will still do the trick for them and they need to invoke the spirit of the Dynamos of old, which would defy odds and find a way out where there seemed to none.

If Dynamos manage to hold their hosts to a goalless stalemate, the tie would be decided by penalty kicks.

The team is expected to dash back to the airport, moments after their match tomorrow, as they have been booked a 10pm flight out of Kinshasa and arrive back home Monday morning.

Dynamos are being accompanied on the trip by their vice-chairman David Mandigora, treasurer Webster Marechera and Brian Austin Chishanga, the longest serving Zifa councillor, is the head of delegation.

Dynamos squad

George Chigova, Artwell Mukandi, Oscar Machapa, Thomas Magorimbo, Ocean Mushure, Augustine Mbara, Partson Jaure, Themba Ndlovu, Sydney Linyama, Stephen Alimenda, Devon Chafa, Walter Mukanga, Tawanda Muparati, Murape Murape, Masimba Mambare, Cliff Sekete, Ronald Chitiyo, Simba Sithole

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