HARARE – Dynamos coach Calisto Pasuwa is already feeling the void left by star midfielder Denver Mukamba, who is on the verge of joining South African Absa Premiership side Bidvest Wits.
Mukamba, voted the country’s finest footballer last year, flew out to South Africa at the weekend and was expected to undergo a medical at Braamfontein yesterday before completing his move.
Speaking after conducting his first training session of 2013 at Raylton Sports Club in the capital yesterday, Pasuwa said. “I think Denver’s departure is a big blow to us but it is now left to the new guys and those that were there last season to fill the void left. Denver could score goals from nowhere but at the end of the day we have to carry on.”
At yesterday’s training session, Pasuwa had six of his new signings in attendance as they began life without Mukamba.
Sydney Linyama, Stephen Alimenda, Artwell Mukandi, Tatenda Makuruva, Russell Madamombe and Morris Kadzola were all present at Raylton.
The club is expecting the duo of Aaron Katebe and Boban Zirintusa to join pre-season training later this week.
Dynamos vice chairperson, Webster Chikengezha, said Zirintusa had gone back to Uganda for the festive season holiday and is returning back this week.
Katebe was still in Hwange but Chikengezha said he should be joining his teammates for today’s training session.
The Dynamos official said they are still negotiating with Hwange for the release of striker Francisco Zekumbawire.
Devon Chafa and forward Martin Vengesayi did not train yesterday as the club is still negotiating their contract renewals.
Chikengezha said Chafa’s renewal was almost 90 percent complete while there was still one sticking issue they were trying to iron out with Vengesayi.
Rodreck Mutuma, who is on Bloemfontein Celtic’s radar, was also absent but is expected to report for training today.
Meanwhile, Pasuwa has challenged his players to step up their game as DeMbare prepare for their assault on both domestic and continental glory.
Dynamos will start their season in February when they play the less-fancied Lesotho Correctional Services in the preliminary round of the African Champions League.
“Like we said before, there are no more small teams. Our first huddle is to concentrate more on this Lesotho team,” said Pasuwa.
“Locally we have been struggling with these-so called small teams so we are saying that everyone in the Dynamos setup should be serious about this Lesotho club for us to qualify to the next round.
“I think the main challenge is for these guys to qualify for the mini-league stage. When we used to play, most people used to say that we were an average side, but the commitment that we put in made it possible for us to progress to the mini-league.”
Pasuwa added: “There were many factors that were preventing us from progressing to the mini-league stage in the last two years and it was not necessary because of the players.
“There was an issue of attitude, officiating and preparations. We need to have friendly matches before we go into such games so that the guys will be prepared. Funds permitting, I would have loved to play friendly matches against at least one side from West, Southern or North Africa.”
The former Dynamos midfielder also issued a warning to his new signings, who have been brought in to bolster the squad.
“They are coming into a team that has been defending the league and the Mbada Cup for two consecutive years,’ he said.
“This is also a team that needs to progress to the mini-league of the Champions League, so this is a big challenge to them. I have been telling them that at Dynamos, there is always pressure every day and in every game we play.”