MANICA Diamonds coach Luke Masomere has set sights on helping his newly-promoted side to achieve a top-eight finish in their maiden Castle Lager Premier Soccer League campaign.
BY TERRY MADYAUTA /KENNETH NYANGANI
The veteran gaffer has been quietly polishing his diamonds ahead of the new season and they have enjoyed a successful transfer window so far, acquiring among others Partson Jaure, Marshal Mudehwe, Wisdom Mutasa, Pritchard Mpelele and Peace Makaha.
They also have in their books Last Jesi, Stephen Sibanda, Rodrick Mufudza and Lawrence Masibhera to complete the set.
Masomere is keen for the club to maintain the momentum that helped them gain promotion to the top-flight league, with a top-eight finish among his priorities.
“I have a group of players, some of them are well known because they have played in the Premier Soccer League before, while others are new to the top-flight,” he said.
“I hope that the players I have assembled will form a formidable team that will be good enough to compete against some of the seasoned campaigners. The target for us is to earn a position in the top eight.”
Vahombe, as he is popularly referred to, added that the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC)-funded side were too good to talk of relegation in their maiden season.
“Being newbies doesn’t mean we have to talk of relegation. We will not talk of that because it’s not part of our vocabulary,” he said.
“I have my expectations as a coach and it is my wish that we play to the best of our abilities in our maiden season.”
Masomere said the club did not want to be put themselves under “unnecessary pressure” by setting high targets in their maiden season.
“What matters at this stage is how I will do my job as a coach. I am not going to compare myself with any other coach in the league, but I will run my own race,” he said.
Meanwhile, the club has implored Mutare City Council to complete renovations at Sakubva Stadium so that the Premiership debutants can use the facility as their home ground ahead of the 2019 campaign.
ZCDC has indicated that they will not be able to assist the council by upgrading Sakubva to acceptable standards for the top-flight due to budgetary constraints.
Manica Diamonds are hoping that Mutare City Council can take care of the required facelift before the new season starts, but they have already identified Vengere Stadium in Rusape as a second option if things do not work out at Sakubva.
Club chairman Masimba Chihowa pleaded with the local authority to complete renovations so that the team can stay in Mutare.
“We are pleading with Mutare City Council to complete the Sakubva Stadium renovations. This is our home ground and we would like to play at Sakubva Stadium, but if Mutare City Rovers fail to complete the renovations, we have already opted for Vengere Stadium,” he said.
Mutare City Council has been struggling to complete the renovations and the local authority-financed side, Mutare City Rovers, was forced to host its home matches in Rusape.