Newly-crowned Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions Dynamos could opt to play in the Caf Confederation Cup rather than the prestigious Champions League if they fail to secure sponsorship, club chairman Kenny Mubaiwa said on Monday.
The deadline for registration of teams in both competitions is November 30 and Zifa has already given the Castle Lager November 27 as the deadline to submit four teams that will take part in both competitions.
The 1998 Champions League runners-up and 2008 semi-finalists won their 13th domestic title since 1980 on Sunday to automatically earn the ticket to represent Zimbabwe in the Champions League next season.
Dynamos need to clinch the Mbada Diamonds Cup by beating Motor Action on Sunday to give themselves a chance to decide whether to take part in the Champions League or the less-prestigious Confederation Cup.
The Mbada Diamonds Cup is the country’s richest-ever cup competition, with $1 million in prize money while the winners are guaranteed financial assistance of $150 000 by the sponsors.
While the handsome prize money and incentives offered in the Champions League outweigh the assistance being offered by Mbada Diamonds, the advantage offered by the former is only realised when the team reaches the money-spinning mini-league phase.
This has made the Mbada Diamonds accolade offer a more tempting prospect for the Harare giants who in the past have struggled financially in the Champions League.
“We have been deliberating on the issue and we find ourselves in a situation where if we fail to find a sponsor to support us for our Champions League campaign we will have no choice, but to opt for the Confederation Cup where we will automatically have sponsorship.
“Obviously our number one choice would be the Champions League, but our coffers are empty and we urgently need to find a company to sponsor us before the deadline.
“We will have to sit down as a board and make a decision which is in the best interest of the club. We want to avoid a situation where we are always out with a begging bowl, appealing for funding from the government to enable us to fulfil our fixtures,” said Mubaiwa.
Dynamos’ most difficult Champions League campaign was in 2008 when they defied all odds to reach the semi-finals despite the hyper-inflationary environment and foreign currency and fuel shortages the country was facing.
This year they missed out on a place in the group stage for the first time in their history in the competition after losing on away goals to MC Alger of Algeria in a tie that ended 4-4 on aggregate.
Mubaiwa said they were looking to sign on some new players, while also ensuring that they retain most of their players ahead of their continental campaign.
“We have already identified some players we want to sign on, but I’m not at liberty to discuss the names at the moment. We are also in the process of renegotiating with some players in the current squad whose contracts are running out at the end of the year,” said Mubaiwa.
DeMbare are set to lose midfielder Archford Gutu who will join his new club, Swedish top-flight side Kalmar FF in January after he signed a three year deal with them in September.
Goalkeeper Washington Arubi and influential midfielder Murape Murape’s loan deals from ambitious Division One club Highfield United also run out at the end of this campaign.
The duo has three-year contracts with Highfield United.
Speaking after Sunday’s match, Dynamos coach Calisto Pasuwa said he was looking to sign about four players ahead of the new season.
“We obviously have to beef up the team ahead of the new season, but at the same time make sure that we retain most, if not all, the players who were with us this season.
“We obviously have to sign a left back, a central defender, a midfielder and a striker to provide cover for (Cuthbert) Malajila and (Roderick) Mutuma. I have already made recommendations to the executive and their response has been forthcoming,” said Pasuwa.