Defending champions Dynamos will seek the perfect preparation for next week’s Caf Champions League outing when they face newboys Hardbody in the opening fixture of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League tomorrow at Rufaro.
Having drawn away to Liga Muculmana last Saturday, the Glamour Boys have the chance to perfect their arsenal against the Gweru side ahead of the return leg at the same venue next Sunday.
Striker Takesure Chinyama, the man who has terrorised defences from his days at Hwange, Monomotapa and Legia Warsaw in Poland, is back in action after an injury scare and is sure to team up with Rodreck Mutuma against the new boys.
Commanding the largest support base in Zimbabwe, there is no doubt Rufaro Stadium will be filled to the rafters as Dynamos seek to send a clear message, particularly to new rivals FC Platinum and former champions Highlanders, that they will defend their title.
The presence of Chinyama alone makes the fans quickly forget about Cuthbert Malajila, now in South Africa, while Tineyi Chitora looks set to fit into the system with ease together with the unheralded Patson Jaure.
Following the disappointing exit from the Confederation Cup and a loss to Dynamos in the
NetOne Charity Shield, Motor Action need to kickstart the season on a high note, but will Harare City be walkovers?
Initiation rites await new Highlanders head coach Zambian Kelvin Kaindu as the Bulawayo football giants entertain Blue Rangers at Barbourfields Stadium tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s match is a litmus test for Kaindu, who has assembled a squad that has 10 new signings and drew 1-1 with Central Region Division One side Chapungu at Emagumeni last Sunday in their last pre-season friendly match.
“Football is always a pressure game. We have been working hard since we started the preparations, but what is important is that we start by winning and every game is just as important to us. I have confidence in the boys. The training has been good, morale is high in camp and the Highlanders supporters should just come in their numbers and together we can put back Highlanders to where it has always been,” Kaindu said.
Bosso made 10 signings for the 2012 season bringing in midfielders Mthulisi Maphosa, Bhekimpilo Ncube from FC Platinum and attacking midfielder Masimba Mambare from Motor Action.
A new-look Blue Rangers (formerly Blue Ribbon) visits Emagumeni tomorrow under the guidance of former manager and coach Wishes Shiridzinomwa after they parted ways with Misheck Chidzambwa.
“We are almost ready. We started our preparations late given that we had lost a number of our players.
But still we have managed to come with a squad, which however still needs time to gel, but we are ready for Highlanders,” Shiridzinomwa said.
Last season’s runners-up FC Platinum begin their campaign against Black Mambas away at Morris Depot.
FC Platinum secretary Philemon Muvengwa believes their fortunes will improve this season.
“We have to play to do better than last season. We play every game to win and we will start doing that against Black Mambas on Saturday (today),” said Muvengwa.
“Remember other teams have also been playing friendly matches so we are also ready for the challenge. It is just that we were preparing under a lot of pressure to play in the Champions League while others were quite relaxed. But we cannot complain or give excuses,” said Muvengwa.
Chief striker Donald Ngoma is still in the treatment room nursing an ankle injury he sustained in the Bob 88 Super Cup final last month.
Mambas coach John Ncube believes he has assembled a formidable squad to offer a formidable struggle this season.
“I think we are very strong this time around and have a balanced squad. By looking at the way we have been training and preparing this off-season, I can safely say we have done great work in building a good team. Now we are just waiting to play FC Platinum and I believe we will win,” said Ncube.
Chicken Inn head coach Adam “Adamski” Ndlovu says the first Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match of the season against Gunners today at Luveve Stadium should be a morale booster for his charges.
“It’s our first game and we obviously are looking for a win to boost the morale of the boys. The spirit is high in camp except for a few injuries but we will still manage, we have 30 players in camp. I just like to urge the Chicken Inn fans to come in their numbers and support the boys and say let us be in the fight together. I have not seen Gunners this year, but all I can say is we are ready for them come Saturday,” Ndlovu said.
Chicken Inn have Evans Chikwaikwai, Thomas Chimenya, Daniel Zokoto, Leanance Mpofu and Marshal Marime in their strikeforce. Monomotapa will be looking for change of fortunes when they revisit Sakubva Stadium tomorrow to face Buffaloes.
Last season, the Taurai Mangwiro-coached side was beaten for two consecutive cup matches at Sakubva by identical 2-1 score-lines both by Motor Action in the Banc ABC Sup8r quarter-finals and the Mbada Diamonds first round match.
The Harare-based side retained their seasoned strikers Tawanda Nyamandwe, Kuda Musharu and defender Fidelis Mangezi. Also they will looking forward to their new signing right-wing back Wonder Kapinda from the Northern Region Division One side La Liga to marshal the defence.
Mangwiro said he was hoping to start the season on a high note saying that his players were raring to play their hearts out.
“We had a bad record at Sakubva Stadium last year. We will be looking forward to change that record because I believe last season we were just unlucky in front of goal. We are going into this match with a positive mind, perhaps coming with all the three valuable points,” he said.
The army side’s head coach, Saul Chaminuka, said they would need all the points at stake since they are playing at home.
“We have been preparing for this match. Since we are playing at Sakubva, we will be looking forward to using our home advantage at all costs.”
Hwange take a break from the Confederation Cup and host Premiership newcomers Quelaton at the Colliery today.
Chipangano technical manager Tennant Chilumba might juggle with some players that have not participated in the continental showcase after defender Tonisani Sibelo got injured last weekend.
Former Shabanie Mine midfielder Tawanda Mareya could see himself in the starting line-up in tomorrow’s match.
Quelaton coach Thulani Sibanda bemoaned the injuries that his team faces as he heads for the Colliery.
Strikers Fortune Nyambosi, Tedius Mugumanya and Amani Makiwa are doubtful starters for tomorrow’s match. Quelaton have in their ranks Marshal Machazane, hitman Kundishora Chakanyuka, Innocent Kutsanzira, Eddie Nkulungo and Timothy January.
At Maglas, Shabanie Mine coach Luke Masomere is aware that a good start against Caps United tomorrow will set the tone for a better season, without last year’s relegation fight. And Sean Connor, the Caps boss, told NewsDay Sport on Thursday that he did not know much about his opponents, but his lieutenants Lloyd Chitembwe, Kennedy Nagoli and Joel Luphahla are well versed about the asbestos miners.
“It’s been difficult to get find out more about Shabanie, but after this week we won’t have that difficulty. All our opposition will now be properly watched and studied. Kennedy (Nagoli) will be watching Motor Action on Saturday (tomorrow) and that will be the trend every week.
“However, the first match of the season is always difficult no matter which team you play because it’s almost like a cup final. All the teams will get there with a lot of enthusiasm after working hard during the pre-season and obviously Shabanie will be more confident because they are at home.”