Murape speaks on Champions League draw


DYNAMOS captain Murape Murape believes their African Champions League draw is tough.


The Zimbabwe champions were drawn against Botswana’s Mochudi Centre Chiefs in the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League on Monday.

They will take on Mochudi Centre Chiefs at home during the weekend of February 7-9 before making the trip to Botswana for the second league two weeks later. Should they negotiate their passage into the first round, they will face the winner between Kano Pillars of Nigeria and DRC’s AS Vita.

There is also a chance the Glamour Boys could meet South African giants Kaizer Chiefs provided the South African outfit win their preliminary round and the first round proper.

Chiefs are paired against Black Africa of Namibia in the preliminary round and will then play the winner between Liga Muçulmana of Mozambique and CAN PS of Madagascar in the first round.

That would mean Dynamos would have avoided North African teams whom they have been facing in the last couple of years with the Zimbabwe champions bombing out in the early stages of the tournament.

Their best achievement since reaching the 1998 final of the premier competition was getting to the semi-final in 2008 under the guidance of David Mandigora.

“It’s a tough draw, but better than it could have been,” Murape said.

“The Champions league is played by champions so all teams in this tournament are champions in their own right. On paper it might appear to be an easy draw but the truth is it is a difficult draw. Playing in Nigeria or DRC is not easy, but we have learnt our lessons after we were beaten by Lesotho Correctional Services in Maseru last time. We had beaten them at Rufaro Stadium, but we were complacent in the return leg and we lost. That should be a lesson to us all. This time around we need to go beyond the group stages. We have failed to do that in recent years so we now need to roll up our sleeves,” Murape said.

The 33-year-old midfielder, however, said most of the players in their squad now have the experience of champions league football.

“The coaches have retained most of the players we had and I think that is good for continuity. With some additions into the squad we should go far in this tournament this time around,” Murape added.

While they are favourites to go through to the first round at the expense of Chiefs, they are likely to face a tough examination in the event that they meet Kano Pillars of Nigeria.

The Nigerian outfit are seasoned campaigners in the African Champions League having also reached the semi-finals of the tournament in 2009 before being knocked out by fellow Nigerian side Heartland 5-0 on aggregate.

They have made three appearances in the tournament in their history and have won three league titles, but have failed to go beyond the first round in their last two appearances.