Gutu’s new start

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Former Dynamos playmaker Archford Gutu says he is adapting well at his new Swedish base.

The talented midfielder broke into the lucrative European league after penning a three-year contract with giants Kalmar FF at the end of last year.

Gutu left Harare in the early hours of Monday and arrived in Kalmar, the south-eastern city of Sweden, at around midday on Tuesday.

He quickly got down to business as his team, who will be playing in the Uefa Europa league next season, had to start their pre-season training the following day.
“I travelled well and arrived here on Tuesday,” Gutu told NewsDay Sport yesterday.

“We started training yesterday (Wednesday), but it was more of a familiarisation process, nothing serious.
“I expect it to be a bit tougher in the coming days. We are going to Spain at the end of this month for more pre-season training to prepare for the next season,” he added.

The Swedish league, which runs concurrently with the Zimbabwe league, kicks-off at the end of March with Gutu expected to make his debut away to promoted GIF Sundsvall.

The Warriors midfielder said he received a warm reception from the club when he arrived. He said the presence of two more African players at the club would help him to settle quickly.

The club has Nigerian Abiola Dauda and Senegalese international Papa Alioune Diouf in their books.

“The situation is good here and the welcome was great. There are two other African players here, one from Nigeria and another one from Senegal. We stay at the same flat, but in different apartments. Everyone was happy to see me back.”

Gutu is feeling anxious about the prospect of finally playing in Europe, but said he can’t wait for this “lifetime opportunity”.

“I’m feeling a bit nervous but it’s only natural. I will do my best to impress here; this is a lifetime opportunity for me. We did a few drills at training yesterday, but I could see that the standards are good.

“It won’t be easy to fit into the team because the type of play is different to what I was used to at Dynamos, but I will work hard to adjust and get a jersey in the first eleven.”

But before he can start the fight for a first-eleven spot, Gutu will have to battle the cold weather of Kalmar which sometimes drop as low as -10 degrees Celsius
“It’s very cold and raining almost every hour, but with time I think I will cope.”

Gutu said he takes his new job as a challenge and an opportunity to sell the Zimbabwean brand of football.

Kalmar FF will be playing in next year’s Uefa Europa League after finishing as runners-up in this year’s edition of Sweden’s premier knockout tournament, the Svenska Cup.

They secured their Europa ticket after the Cup winners, Helsingborgs IF, also won the league title to get a spot in the Uefa Champions League.