DYNAMOS captain Murape Murape believes their African Champions League draw is tough, but says it is better than it could have been.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The Zimbabwe champions were drawn against Botswana’s Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League on Monday.
They will take on Mochudi Centre Chiefs at home during the weekend of February 7-9 before making the trip to Botswana for the second leg two weeks later.
Should they negotiate their passage into the first round, they will face the winner between Kano Pillars of Nigeria and DRC’s AS Vita.
There is also a chance the Glamour Boys could meet South African giants Kaizer Chiefs provided the South African outfit win their preliminary round and the first round proper.
Chiefs are paired against Black Africa of Namibia in the preliminary round and then play the winner between Liga Muçulmana of Mozambique and CAN PS of Madagascar in the first round.
That would mean Dynamos would have avoided North African teams whom they have been facing in the last couple of years with the Zimbabwe champions bombing out in the early stages of the tournament.
Their best achievement since reaching the 1998 final of the premier competition was getting to the semi-final in 2008 under the guidance of David Mandigora.
“It’s a tough draw, but better than it could have been,” Murape said.
“The Champions League is played by champions, so all teams in this tournament are champions in their own right. On paper, it might appear to be an easy draw, but the truth is it is a difficult one. Playing in Nigeria or DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) is not easy. But we have learnt our lessons after we were beaten by Lesotho Correctional Services in Maseru last time. We had beaten them at Rufaro (Stadium), but we were complacent in the return leg and we lost. That should be a lesson to us all. This time around, we need to go beyond the group stages. We have failed to do that in recent years, so we now need to roll up our sleeves,” Murape said.
The 33-year-old midfielder, however, said most of the players in the squad now have the experience of champions league football.
“The coaches have retained most of the players we had and I think that is good for continuity. With some additions into the squad, we should go far in this tournament this time around.”