HOW MINE’s preparations for the Orange Caf Confederation Cup kicked off on a low note yesterday as nine of the new players registered for the tournament had not yet arrived in Bulawayo.
Only four players, Elvis Samaneka, Blessing Sande, Edmore Muzanenhamo and goalkeeper Donavan Bernard trained with the rest of the players at Luveve Stadium. Absent from training were Wonder Sithole, George Magariro, Morris Kadzola, Kudakwashe Musharu, Tendai Ngulube, George Magariro, Courage Denias, Nicholas Alifandika and James Chitereki.
How Mine coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube said there was nothing unusual as that was to be expected on the first day of training. Beefy said the eight were expected to join the team today as they were travelling to the City of Kings.
“We have started our preparations although on a negative note because most of the players that are part of the 29-member squad are travelling and are on their way. First day of training is always like that. You can never start on a positive note,” Beefy said.
Skipper Herbert Dick, midfielder Menard Mupera and first choice goalkeeper Ephraim Mazarura, Qinani Sibanda, Nyasha Mukumbi, Timothy January and Eddie Nkulungo were all absent. Chief striker Simba Sithole has travelled with the Warriors for the African Nations Championships tournament that starts in South Africa on Saturday.
Vice-captain Gilbert Banda, Thembani “Smaller” Masuku, Brighton Dube, Warren Dube, Xolisani Moyo, Terrence Majo, Sizalobuhle Dube, Nelson Tachi, Arnold Ndiweni and goalkeeper Notice Nonjabulo Dube were at training yesterday among a host of other players, who were trying their luck with the team for the 2014 season.
How Mine were yesterday joined by former Highlanders striker Graham Ncube who had joined Division One side Bantu Rovers mid-way through last season. Gracious Muleya, Thulani Moyo, Julius Daudi and Maclive Phiri were some of the players that pitched up for training yesterday.
Young Emmanuel Mandiranga, from Aces Academy in Harare joined his colleague goalkeeper Benard among the players trying their luck at the gold miners.
How Mine will date Chuoni FC of Zanzibar in the first leg preliminary round of the Confederation Cup at Barbourfields Stadium next month before travelling to the island off the coast of Tanzania for the second leg.
Training is expected to intensify as players troop in for preparations.