PSL clubs start 2024 preps . . . Simba Bhora unveil 10 new signings

09 Jan, 2024 - 14:01 0 Views
PSL clubs start 2024 preps . . . Simba Bhora unveil 10 new signings Jairosi Tapera

The Sunday News

Online Writer

THE stage has already been set for the 2024 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season with ambitious Simba Bhora unveiling 10 new signings while giants Dynamos today join the fray of teams that have already started pre-season training.

Ambitious Mutare outfit Manica Diamonds were among the early birds and yesterday they arrived in Chiredzi for a two-week training camp.

Bulawayo Chiefs, who survived relegation last season, got the ball rolling yesterday under coach Thulani Sibanda who is returning for another stint.

Most of the clubs are expected to get their pre-season programmes underway today, with eyes on the February 24 kick-off.

Ideally, teams need about six weeks of pre-season to prepare adequately and there is no time to waste because of the early kick-off of the 2024 season.

Manica Diamonds coach Jairosi Tapera and his charges arrived in Chiredzi yesterday for their pre-season. They conducted medicals on the eve of their trip and will start training today.

They will spend the next 14 days in the Lowveld, where they are likely to continue playing their home games in the coming season, in the event that Sakubva Stadium is not fixed on time. The Gem Boys shuttled from Mutare to Gibbo for their home games last season and still finished second in the marathon, behind champions Ngezi Platinum Stars.

They are hoping to go for gold this time around. 

As part of streamlining their team for improved efficiency, the Gem Boys released ageing players Donald Ngoma, Ralph Kawondera, Timire Mamvura, Talent Chamboko and goalkeeper Jorum Muchambo to make way for fresh talent.

“We have retained three quarters of the team. We released only five players and right now we are working on filling the gaps. In fact, we have since settled for the players that we want and what is now left is for them to get clearances from the clubs they are coming from,” said Tapera.

The veteran coach believes 2024 could be a much more difficult season, in relation to his side’s second place finish in 2023.

“I think you know how it is with football. We had a good campaign last year and finished second. With football such a position can either spur you on and be the springboard to do even better or it may also give you pressure because every team you are going to meet would want to get a piece of you.

“So we will prepare to the best of our abilities and hope for the best in 2024,” said Tapera.

Champions Ngezi Platinum Stars have given their players enough rest and could start their preseason next week, according to coach Takesure Chiragwi.

This is despite that they will start the season earlier than most of the teams, as they feature in the season opening Castle Challenge Trophy against Dynamos on February 17.

Dynamos, are expected to start proper training today. The technical team last week opened a slight window for trialists.

Club chairman Moses Maunganidze said the DeMbare management is today expected to roll out their programme after consultations with the coaching department led by Genesis Mangombe.

“We received a programme from the technical team and their plans for the pre-season. So we will try by all means to grant their wishes.

“We are still working on it. They need two weeks outside of Harare but we are yet to finalise the destination of the training camp.

“I am sure the team will capitalise on this opportunity for bonding, conditioning and training without distractions. There isn’t much time, everything has to be compressed so that by February 17, we will be good to go,” said Maunganidze.

Dynamos lost key player Junior Makunike to Simba Bhora and were on the verge of losing Issa Sadiki to Manica Diamonds before swift interventions were made.

“We have managed to retain all the players that we wanted for the coming season, of course with the exception of Makunike because of the nature of the contract he had with us.

“So we will make sure that we move to strengthen all the departments. The coaches are working on that aspect and the management is fully behind them.

“By the end of next week we should be able to announce the structure of our squad.”

Dynamos are set to fight on two fronts as they will represent Zimbabwe in the CAF Confederation Cup by virtue of winning the Chibuku Super Cup. Ngezi Platinum Stars will play in the Champions League.

“This year we are not assembling a new team,” said Maunganidze.

“We are strengthening what we already have and I believe we should build a team capable of taking over from where we left off last season in the league and possibly win the title.

“As Dynamos, we always play to win everything that is available. Sometimes it doesn’t come out exactly as we plan for but we always aim for honours.

“We are also looking to go far in the CAF interclub competitions. We need to go as far as we can, considering we are coming from a long lay-off in these competitions,” said Maunganidze.

Simba Bhora were expected to start training yesterday but the venue was not ready. The Shamva side is battling to renovate Wadzanai Stadium to meet the requirements for homologation as they would want to play their home games in Shamva this season.

Prophet Walter Magaya, who recently opened the newly-constructed The Heart Stadium in Waterfalls, yesterday paid a visit to Wadzanai Stadium to share notes with Simba Bhora.

Simba Bhora yesterday revealed that they had signed contracts with 10 new signings including the former FC Platinum duo of Walter Musona and Perfect Chikwende, Taimon Mvula and Junior Makunike (both from Dynamos), Wilson Mensah and Talbert Shumba (Triangle), Malvin Mkolo and Billy Vheremu (Bulawayo Chiefs), Harrison Masina from Hunters and Gift Saunyama from Black Rhinos. Due to their precarious financial position, Bulawayo Chiefs are likely to lose a number of their key players whose contracts have expired. They were among the preseason early birds but they started off on a subdued note after most of their senior players failed to show up on the first day.

Their coach Sibanda, who is returning for a yet another stint following the departure of Johannes Nhumwa, trained mostly with trialists from Division One clubs yesterday.

Herentals are expected to regroup tomorrow. They are set to welcome back Wilmore Chimbetu whose loan deal with giants Dynamos ended on December 31.

Another key player Prince Chama is also back in the fold after missing the better part of last season due to injury. Chama has recovered fully but will do light training for the next one week before he can join the rest of the squad.

But they have lost one of their star players Davison Marowa to former champions FC Platinum. Marowa was signed as replacement for Musona who moved to Simba.

FC Platinum also released captain Petros Mhari, Gift Mbweti and veteran Gift Bello. The platinum miners are expected to announce their signings in the coming days. Clubs are busy positioning themselves on the market.

Even the smaller ones like GreenFuel, who are eyeing the Black Rhinos duo of Kuda Nyakudanga and Garikai Dematsika, have been running around to beef up their stocks.

The early start to the season was driven by the need to accommodate the senior national team’s World Cup qualifiers, as well as the CAF inter-club competitions. The PSL office is expected to open tomorrow to expedite the pre-season business.

@The Herald

 

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