From Augustine Hwata in MASERU, Lesotho
A HORRIBLE weekend for Dynamos turned from bad to worse yesterday when the Harare giants bungled their travel arrangements and ended up stranded in Lesotho after missing their flight from here to Johannesburg.
The Glamour Boys might have qualified for the first round of the Champions League, which was largely expected, but their shock 0-1 defeat at the hands of minnows Lesotho Correctional Services took the gloss away from their progress.
It has been a trip-made-in-hell for DeMbare, starting with the mid-air scare, during their flight here, when their plane was diverted back to Johannesburg because of poor weather in Maseru.
On Sunday, the Glamour Boys fell to a shock defeat, which will hurt their confidence, but still progressed to the first round of the tournament, where the real battle will start, courtesy of a 3-1 aggregate victory.
But just when the players and their technical team were thinking of the comforts of home, to recharge for future assignments after a bad adventure, they found out yesterday that their travel arrangements had been thrown into disarray.
Somehow the Glamour Boys delayed their departure from their hotel, where they had accused the staff of serving their breakfast late, and when they arrived at the airport, they found that the plane had already left.
Their flight from here to Johannesburg was scheduled for 2:30pm, just about the same time that the Dynamos delegation arrived at the airport.
Club vice-chairman, Webster Chikengezha, who is also doubling as the secretary-general, is the only member of the team’s delegation who managed to catch the flight as he had arrived at the airport earlier to sort out the traveling party’s check-in process.
But the team arrived late and are now scheduled to leave Maseru in two batches today and then hook up in Johannesburg where they will get the connecting flight to Harare this evening.
A source within the team said DeMbare were booked at Maseru Sun Hotel for another night by their sponsors, BancABC and Mbada Diamonds, while fresh arrangements were being made.
“They missed the flight because they arrived at the airport at 2:30pm when the plane was already on the runway about to take off,” said the source.
“So it means they will have to spend another night in Maseru while their sponsors book them another flight for tomorrow (today).”
The DeMbare delegation might be forced to pay extra, in terms of their travel costs, to be booked on today’s flights because of “their no show” yesterday.
Earlier, Dynamos defender, Patson Jaure, had said the players were still trying to come to terms with their first defeat of the season following their loss to Lesotho Correctional Services at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday.
Dynamos had never lost any match this year. Only Bulawayo giants Highlanders had done well to breach their defence when Beaven Chikaka scored during the Bob ’89 Super Cup at Barbourfields.
“I was pained by the defeat because it’s the first for us this season, we had never lost a match at home or away this season,” said Jaure.
“Even in the friendly matches, the worst results we had were draws. So, the defeat was really painful for me and the whole team.”
Dynamos players stayed in their rooms as they reflected on the defeat but Jaure is hopeful that they will put the setback behind them to focus on the next matches. LSC striker Thabone Rankara struck the goal that deflated Dynamos during the reverse fixture in the 85th minute.
The hosts, who had nothing to lose, got off to a solid start as they came on a strong attack in the opening stages and their efforts were duly rewarded with a late goal. “Everyone is just down because of the defeat. We never expected it to come,” said Jaure.
“In football players look forward to winning bonuses but in this case we have nothing. We should be very well prepared for the match in Tunisia in the first round.
“The last time we went to Tunisia, we lost by six goals and now the coach has been working on us defenders so that we do not concede many goals, especially in away matches. We should avoid conceding a goal in Tunisia and then try to utilise our home advantage to get a win.
“Football is a tricky game and we have to aim for the best always.”
DeMbare lost 0-6 to Esperance during the first round of the 2012 African Champions League and then drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture at Rufaro. Jaure had scored in the last two matches against LSC at Rufaro and against Highlanders at the same venue.
“After scoring in the last two matches I was aiming to make it three goals in as many matches,” said Jaure.
“Unfortunately, I could not score and when the opportunity came, I did not use it well. I tried to head on target but unfortunately the sun was shining brightly into my eyes, at that moment, and I could not properly see the ball to get a good header.
“If I get the opportunity to score, I try to utilise it.”
Jaure’s first goal for Dynamos came from a blistering free kick struck from the edge of the box during the first leg of the preliminary round against LSC and then a fine header against Bosso.
“When I was playing in Division One at La Liga, I used to take free kicks and I used to regularly score from outside the box,” said Jaure.
“The technique is to have power and accuracy behind the ball.”
DeMbare coach, Callisto Pasuwa, said they were now bracing themselves for the next stage of the competition where they will meet Club Bizertin from Tunisia.
“It has always been difficult to play against the teams from North Africa but we will see when we get there,” said Pasuwa.
“The problem has been in our attack and Zekumbawira just trained with us for less than two weeks. During the pre-season matches, we did not train with the registered strikers but hopefully we will work out on our shortcomings with the players we have registered.” The Herald