Dynamos for Bots

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Reigning league champions Dynamos, who are battling to secure regional friendly matches to prepare for their Caf Champions League campaign, could have found some reprieve after Botswana side Gaborone United (GU) yesterday invited the Harare giants for a match on a date yet to be announced.

This follows Dynamos’ pullout from a four team tournament that had been set for South Africa on January 29 and was to feature Mamelodi Sundowns, Caps United and Kaizer Chiefs.

Media reports from Botswana say the friendly match has been initiated by former Dynamos coach Elvis “Chuchu” Chiweshe, who is now the head coach of the Botswana side.

Gaborone United spokesperson City Senne confirmed to a local newspaper, the Botswana Guardian, that they had approached Dynamos for a friendly match.

Although he could not give the dates and the venue for the proposed friendly match, saying they were still working on the modalities, Senne said his team would use the match as preparation for the second half of their league season which is currently on a break.

“Dynamos are a big and successful club that anybody would want to be associated with. They have seen it all in the world of football. Ambitious as we are, this is an opportunity for us to learn from the side that has been the awe of many across the region,” Senne said.

Club secretary-general Nyika Chifamba was quoted in the same newspaper saying: “We are playing in the Champions League this year and we hope to last the distance through having thorough preparation. Gaborone United will give us the much-needed practice ahead of impending domestic and international assignments,”

If the friendly match materialises, Dynamos will reconnect with their former coach Chuchu who left the club in December 2010 before crossing the border to Botswana to join GU six months later.

Chuchu left Dynamos when it emerged the Harare giants had been negotiating with other coaches for his post, without his knowledge. Dynamos then settled for Lloyd Mutasa following Chiweshe’s abrupt departure.

Dynamos received a bye in this year’s Champions League preliminary round and lie in wait for a winner between Mafunzo of Zanzibar or Muçulmano de Maputo of Mozambique in the first round.

They will start their campaign on the weekend of March 23-25. If Dynamos manage to progress from the first round, they are likely to meet the tournament’s defending champions Espérance in the second round.

It is with this in mind the club’s executive have said they will organise friendly matches against regional teams ahead of what promises to be a gruelling campaign.

But that proposed trip has fallen apart after club chairman Keni Mubaiwa yesterday said the money offered by South African side Mamelodi Sundowns is “too little”.

The Brazilians, who are organising the tournament, had offered Dynamos and Caps United R100 000 each to cover the costs of taking part in the tournament set for January 29. The first proposal from Sundowns was for the tournament to involve Dynamos, Caps United, Sundowns and Black Leopards but Kaizer Chiefs were drafted in at the last minute.

Dynamos chairman Keni Mubaiwa, confirming Dynamos’ withdrawal from the tournament, said yesterday they had seriously considered the money which had been offered by Sundowns and decided it was inadequate as it only covered the costs of taking part in the tournament.

“I can confirm that we are no longer taking part in the tournament. We took this decision after seriously considering the money which has been offered by Sundowns. We felt it is too little because they offered us R100 000 and if you convert that, it’s about US$12 000 and we felt it’s not worth it so we decided to withdraw. We will be informing them officially tomorrow (Monday).

“But I am told Caps United are still interested in taking part,” said Mubaiwa. Although there won’t be any prize money for winning the tournament, Sundowns had negotiated with SuperSport for all the matches at the tournament to be beamed live on one of the channels of the pay-per-view television network.

The tournament would have given coach Calisto Pasuwa a chance to gauge his team ahead of the African Champions League.

The Zimbabwe champions were given a preliminary round bye in the African Champions League and will face winners of the clash between Mafunzo FC of Zanzibar and Mozambique’s Muçulmano de Maputo in the first round.

Should they win that encounter, Dynamos could face defending champions Espérance of Tunisia in the second round for a place in the lucrative group stages of the competition.