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Easy start for DeMbare

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Reigning Castle Lager Premier Soccer League champions Dynamos will begin the defence of their league championship with a fairly easy home tie against league debutants Hardbody when the 2012 league programme bursts into life next weekend.

The long — awaited release of the fixtures, which had been delayed by the late confirmation of the promoted teams, finally came to an end after the PSL released the official league programme yesterday.

Dynamos, who last season secured a historic league and cup double under Callisto Pasuwa, will be eager to get their campaign up and running against the league’s newboys at their favourite hunting ground, Rufaro Stadium.

It will be crucial for Pasuwa’s men, who also have Caf Champions League assignments, to win their opening matches to give themselves a cushion ahead of a potential backlog of fixtures likely to be caused by their campaign in the African Safari.

The Harare giants got their season off to a positive start by winning the NetOne Charity Shield for the second year in a row after beating Motor Action 2-1 at the National Sports Stadium last Sunday.

Pasuwa’s men are also likely to be fitter given the fact that by the time the league programme begins, they would also have played another match – this weekend’s Caf Champions League match against Liga Muculmana in Maputo, Mozambique.

While for Dynamos the Hardbody fixture looks easy on paper, it will certainly be a baptism of fire for the seemingly unprepared Midlands-based outfit whose promotion was only confirmed early this month after the Commercial Arbitration Centre dismissed Tripple B’s appeal.

The much-awaited verdict brought to an end the long legal battle that delayed the announcment of the Central Region Division One League champions.

The two clubs had been embroiled in a promotional battle after the Beitbridge-based outfit Tripple B, who finished second in the championship race, complained about the use of an irregularly registered player, Tatenda Chingarah.

The Gweru outfit, however, went on to win the Central Region Division One League’s sole ticket to the Premiership.

A defiant Hardbody coach, Tavaka Gumbo, said despite the delay, his team had continued preparing and his team was not scared of Dynamos.

“We are not afraid of Dynamos because the main reason we wanted to be promoted in the first place was to play against the big teams. Obviously we will be the underdogs and the pressure will be on Dynamos since they will be playing in front of their home fans.

“We have opted to retain most of the players who were with us last season and a few others from the lower divisions. I feel that will be an added advantage as Dynamos do not know anything about us and I believe it’s also an opportunity for us to get recognised,” said Gumbo.

Another potential David and Goliath affair awaits Dynamos in the second week when they travel to Mutare for a date with the newly — promoted army outfit Buffaloes.

Football fans will have to wait until week 12 of the league programme for the first installment of the usually much — hyped Harare Derby between Dynamos and Caps United.

Former Champions Motor Action will also kick off their campaign against unfamiliar opponents when they host debutants Harare City.

The Mighty Bulls have endured a frustrating start to the season in which they were booted out of the preliminary stage of the Caf Confederation Cup before losing to Dynamos in the NetOne Charity Shield.

Faded giants Caps United, who finished a disappointing sixth last season, face a stern test away to Shabanie Mine at Maglas while Highlanders host Blue Rangers.

FC Platinum, who last season lost the championship race to Dynamos on goal difference, open the new campaign at Morris Depot against police side Black Mambas.

Former champions Gunners travel to Chicken Inn for their opening match while Hwange host league newboys Quelaton.

The Dynamos/Highlanders derby has in previous seasons generated a lot of excitement and has been slated for week five at Barbourfields Stadium.

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