BY HENRY MHARA
IT’S just over three weeks before the 2019 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League’s big kick-off, but Dynamos coach Lloyd Chigowe believes his side is ready to roll, describing his newly-assembled team as a wild horse ready to give deadly kicks to anything that crosses its path.
Chigowe was forced to build his side from scratch after a player exodus at the end of a troubled season last year, and he is thrilled with his project so far.
He feels their friendly match against Caps United set for the National Sports Stadium on Sunday will give a glimpse of what’s to come, as the affable coach looks to get his full reign at the club on a positive start.
“We have prepared well, but we are midstream in our preparations and there is still a lot of work to be done and part of the pre-season preparations is the game we are playing next, and hopefully it enhances our reputation as an institution, but ultimately, it will test if our combinations are coming right,” Chigowe said.
“This is the big Harare derby, the real match that everyone is looking forward to. We will try to do our best to entertain and live to that billing. Dynamos are alive and kicking, like a wild horse.”
Chigowe’s rebuilding project has received a lot of media attention and the weekend game affords the supporters a chance to see what to expect when the season kicks off on March 30.
Four foreigners have arrived at Dynamos this season — three from West Africa and one from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
However, the club’s faithful might have to wait a little longer to have a look at what the new players can give.
“We might have challenges with one or two of our foreign legions to play on Sunday. They arrived a little bit late, so we are still working on their papers,” Chigowe said.
Congolese Ngandu Mangala, who is arguably the team’s find of the season, is likely to play as he has been in the country for years now, while Ghananian Robert Sackey and Cameroonian Herve Mbega have been in Harare for some time now and they should be ready for the match.
It is the highly-rated former Cameroonian youth international forward, Ngahan Claude Junior, nicknamed Neymar, who arrived in the country last week, who is a doubt for the match.
The coach also hailed the arrival of a new sponsor, whom he said had raised morale in the dressing room.
The club on Wednesday announced a massive $1 million sponsorship deal with Gold Leaf Tobacco Zimbabwe through its Rudland & George cigarette brand. They have already paid off all the players’ salary, bonuses and signing-on fees arrears.
“The coming in of the new sponsor has removed a lot of pressure in terms of expectations from the players, but of course, assembling a group of players is one thing and making them a competitive team is another,” Chigowe said.
“We don’t want to be part of history as a team of galacticos that did not deliver… that received a lot of money as signing-on fees, so in that respect we need to work hard so that we become a compact team. The onus is now on the boys to win the hearts and minds of the Dynamos supporters.”