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DeMbare thirst for elusive Chibuku Cup

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

HARARE giants Dynamos will be looking to end a barren spell in the Chibuku Super Cup this season when they begin their campaign in the competition against Herentals at the National Sports Stadium this afternoon.

The competition, which began yesterday, marks the return of local football following a lengthy absence precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Buoyed by their Uhuru Cup triumph last month, Dynamos start the competition as one of the favourites to win the country’s premier knockout event which takes a different format this year.

However, this is one trophy which has eluded the Glamour Boys since its return on the local scene seven years ago and the star-studded team assembled by Tonderai Ndiraya will be aiming to get the monkey off their back.

But in spite of the abundant talent at his disposal, coach Ndiraya feels he doesn’t have a settled team yet considering that the side is not recognisable from the one that struggled in the league two years ago.

“We are not a team yet. We literally have a new squad if you ask me. We brought in quite a number of new players in 2020, but those players never got to play together and this year we brought in five experienced players and three youngsters from Prince Edward Academy,” Ndiraya told journalists ahead of the tricky clash against Herentals.

“We have had some bit of time on the training field and that has helped the boys to understand each other, but there is still some work to be done. If you watched the Independence Trophy, Highlanders looked more like a team than us, they have been together since 2018 and the understanding was there. It’s that understanding that we are seeking, hopefully we have done enough to really try (and) create a team. The trophy that we won helped in getting the team together,” he said.

Unfortunately for Ndiraya, whatever the excuse, Dynamos are expected to win every competition by their ever-demanding fans.

Dynamos will have to begin the journey without one of their best players in the 2019 season, exciting fullback Emmanuel Jalai, who suffered a groin injury during the week.

Little-known defender Tendaishe Magwaza is also out injured.

The good news for Dynamos is that King Nadolo, Tinashe Makanda, David Temwanjira and Sylvester Appiah are all back to full fitness.

Ndiraya reckons the team is ready for competition in spite of the challenges they face.

“I think we are already in the mood, so it’s going to be a second match for the season, but the difference is when we played Highlanders we had only prepared for one week. Now we have had a bit more time to prepare and that has really improved the fitness of the players so we expect a very different game on Sunday (today).

“The quality of competition is also going to be compromised because of the pre-season that we have had, so it is my appeal to our fans and stakeholders and to the fans to be patient with the boys as they try to find their footing.

“Hopefully after a few matches they will be able to apply themselves and the teams will be able to give the fans quality football. We are ready, we are so excited, our boys can’t wait to start the match on Sunday,” Ndiraya said.

Herentals have always been tricky customers especially against Harare teams since they got promoted in 2018 while they also finished the season strongly in 2019.

Midfielder Juan Mutudza, who has since joined Dynamos, is set to play against his former teammates.

Meanwhile, in the early kickoff at the same venue two-time Chibuku Super Cup winners Harare City have a date with ZPC Kariba.

The match starts at 11am.

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