Despite falling 3-0, Hardbody coach Tavaka Gumbo believes his side came out strong-willed out of their debut Premiership football match against reigning champions Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
The Premier Soccer League debutants had their first taste of top-flight football away in enemy territory against a super-charged DeMbare already riding on the crest of a wave after lifting the NetOne Charity Shield.
Dynamos were also brimming with confidence from a heroic 2-2 away draw in Maputo against Mozambican champions Liga Muçulmana in the African Champions League.
Hardbody had less than three weeks to assemble their squad mostly comprised of rookies and prepare for the season by playing only one friendly match, before immediately plunging into the most hostile of environments at Rufaro.
Fearsome striker Takesure Chinyama continued with his terrific form by grabbing a hat-trick to give the Harare giants a good start to their title defence.
Tavaka Gumbo and his men arrived at Rufaro Stadium as rank outsiders and were expected to receive a thorough hiding, but the coach feels, the game was a fitting experience which would gear them up for matches to come.
“From the start no one gave us a chance though we believed we were not going to let them do as they please. The result had no bad effect on our part. All our shortcomings were brought out into perspective and this will help us prepare for the future,” said Gumbo.
“Our major drawback was the stage fright element in our players. For most of them, the stage was just too big for them and were overwhelmed by the occasion. I realised we need to work much in every department, but more on the strike force so that we get the goals even at the slightest of opportunities.
“I was, however, impressed by guys like Nhlanhla Ncube, Hillary Gravel and Brian Juru. They played very well and should continue doing that in upcoming matches.”
Hardbody host Black Mambas at Ascot Stadium on Sunday.