DYNAMOS will be looking for a change of fortune in Tunisia Sunday when they take on locals, CA Bizertin, in a CAF African Champions League tie having suffered disastrous defeats in their recent travels to North Africa.
DeMbare left the country Wednesday for the Tunisian city of Bizerta, Africa’s northernmost city, keen to avoid a repeat of the 6-0 thrashing they suffered at the hands of reigning champions Esperance last year.
In 2011, they also fell 3-0 to MC Alger of neighbouring Algeria despite leading 4-1 from the reverse encounter in Harare.
The Harare side go into Sunday’s tie with injury concerns over a number of key players, among them star defender, Patson Jaure, Tawanda Muparati and Devon Chafa and new signing Franscisco Zekumbawira.
And adding to coach Calisto Pasuwa’s concerns ahead of the game, was the cold local weather conditions and unfamiliar food which his players were struggling to cope with.
“The weather is not very friendly in these parts of the world. We are used to play in temperatures ranging from 20-25 degrees back home but we have to do with what prevails here,” said Pasuwa from Bizertin on Saturday.
“There is, however, nothing much we can do about it except to encourage them to stay warm and put on warm clothes. The food is (also) very foreign to us and we have players who are having serious problems eating it.”
Pasuwa was however, upbeat about his sides chances and said he was drilling them for a “high pressure” encounter at the city’s October 15 Stadium.
“The North Africans play high pressure football and they will bombard you, especially in the first 20 minutes, forcing you to get exposed, concede free-kicks and get cautioned and that is why I am emphasising on maintaining team shape so that we don’t get desperate and give away set pieces,” he said.
The DeMbare coach added that team medics were monitoring the traveling sick adding the coaches would make a final assessment on Sunday before the game.
“The doctor is working on them but if we are not satisfied with their fitness, we will not risk anyone in such temperatures,” he said.
“Tawanda (fractured index finger) is shying away from challenges, but when in possession, he is his usual best. Devon is also taking long to get into groove because of the groin, but once he is warmed up he appears fine,” Pasuwa said.
An away win would boost dynamos’ chances of progressing to the second round of the championship and a potential clash against Al Ahly of Egypt lies in wait.
Speaking before the team left for Tunisia early this week, Pasuwa said: “We are hoping for a good away game and if we can manage to score at least a goal or two, we should be able to finish the job at home.
“We have some injuries in camp, but we hope all players will be ready for selection by Sunday.”