HOW Mine’s first dance in Africa begins tomorrow when they take on Zanzibar’s Chuoni in the Caf Confederations Cup first-leg preliminary round tie at Barbourfields Stadium.
The Metallon Gold-sponsored side got the slot to represent the country in the competition after finishing as runners-up in the Mbada Diamonds Cup last season.
How Mine assistant coach Simba Rusike yesterday told Southern Eye Sport that they were ready for the battle.
“Our preparations for the match against Chuoni have been going on very well. Our aim is to score three goals. We will be searching for a victory which should come at all costs. We have been in camp and have been working on our shooting and drills. The boys are looking very sharp,” he said.
“We should be in Bulawayo tomorrow (today). The camp has helped us in preparing for the match and everyone is raring to go. Morale is high and we have no injury worries.”
Chuoni were expected in Bulawayo yesterday evening after arriving in Harare in the afternoon.
How Mine defied all odds last season and were nick-named the “Giant Killers” following their good show in the league as they beat local football giants and also knocked out Dynamos out of the Mbada Diamonds Cup.
However, they lost 0-3 to Highlanders in the final, but are representing the country in the competition as Bosso are serving a three-year Caf ban.
They acquired Kudakwashe Musharu, Tendai Ngulube, young Aces Academy goalkeeper Donovan Benard, Caps United’s Marvel Samaneka, Gunners’ James Chitereki and added young Emmanuel Mandiranga from Aces Academy in Harare to boost up their squad.
However, How Mine lost striker Simba Sithole who signed a two-year contract with South African side Ajax Cape Town. Nicholas Alifandika and Courage Denias withdrew from the squad.
Veteran defenders Hebert Dick and Gilbert Banda said the key to success in Africa would be avoiding conceding goals at home.
“I do not know anything much about that team but we just have to be very cautious. We should score as many goals as we can but it is going to be a very tricky game,” Banda said
“The team can be tactfully good as well so we just need to be focused.
“We should, however, avoid conceding. If we do that then it might be difficult when we meet again. We must not allow that.”
Dick said their target is to proceed to the next round.
“We have a very strong squad that has experienced players who have captained other clubs before so we should go through to the next round. We also have to do what the coach tells us. We just have to play basic football.
“I have seen it in many matches, but what is necessary is for us to work as a family. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so we should capitalise on that. We have to score many goals so that it will be easier for us when we clash again,” Dick said.
Angolan referee Do Rosario Baltaza will handle tomorrow’s tie.
CHUONI FC DELEGATION
Abrahmani Gharib, Abdul-Kadir Ramadhan, Ahmed Abbas Mkubwa, Simai Uzia Vuai, George Thomas Mkoba, Hadhiri Ilam Ameir, Adam Hamadi Othman, Bakar Hussein Mussa, Ramadhan Hamad Othman, Mwinyi Pingwali, Hussein Khamis, Amour Ali, Hamad Mshamata Makame, Yussuf Mohamed Ali, Ahmed Mohamed Salu, Ame Ali Amour, Moka Shabani Msafiri, Ahmed Ali Suleiman, Juma Ahmed Akame, Ibrahim Rajabu Juma, Saleh Hamad Mohamed, Ali Bakar Khalfan, Bakar Ayoub Shaaban, Omar Mussa Omar