Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
HARARE City coach Taurai Mangwiro wants his strike-force to be ruthless as they go out in search of a comprehensive victory against AS Adema at Rufaro this afternoon in the first leg of the preliminary round of the CAF Confederation Cup.
The match starts at 2pm.
The Sunshine Boys, who are playing in Africa for the first time, are looking to do the damage at home to ease the pressure ahead of the return match on 28 February in Madagascar.
Harare City scored for fun in the Chibuku Super Cup which earned them the ticket to represent Zimbabwe after scoring 15 goals in four matches to win the tournament.
Mangwiro yesterday demanded the same ruthlessness against the visitors when he named his 18-member squad that will be led in attack by Martin Vengesai, Francisco Zekumbawire, William Manondo and Kuda Kumwala.
Attacking midfielders Ronald Chitiyo, Benson Maglas and Raphael Manuvire are also available for selection as City look to go on the offensive.
Mangwiro said they are aiming to maintain a clean sheet at home.
“We have spent a lot of time trying to fine-tune our attack. It has been our greatest undoing. Even last season we weren’t as lethal in terms of conversion and I feel against AS Adema, while we would want to be very much on the offensive, at the same time we would be better off if we don’t concede.
“I would want to see the team score as many goals but I would be more than delighted if the team manages to keep a clean sheet.
“I don’t want to be careless going forward. I know the expectations are very high as people would want to see us massacre AS Adema, but I would want to be very cautious and not give anything away easily at the back.
“I would want to see the team being very much on the offensive but it is the transition where I feel we need to be handling it in a better way.
“For us, we have put emphasis on imposing our game on them, and if we can do that the better for us.
“I would also want to think come the second leg, we would have seen them playing, we would have assessed them in the first leg but I would be more than comfortable if we have the job as good as done going into the second leg.
“We don’t want to leave ourselves with a mountain to climb.
“If anything, let’s carry the form that gave us the opportunity to represent the nation into Africa.”
Mangwiro feels his men have had adequate preparations.
“Match fitness would play a part but I knew exactly when we were going to play so, in our planning we had to make sure we tried to cover much ground so that come kick-off we are not found wanting.
“I am not one for friendly matches to be honest with you, I don’t want to read much what happens in them.
“For us tomorrow (today) is a big day and that’s when we will know exactly where we stand and I just want us to do well so that we are not under pressure come second leg.
“I would want to think tomorrow (today) come kick-off time we won’t be found wanting. We have had a five-week programme.
“We also focused on the physical part, I must say we have covered some ground and, so far, I am satisfied with the progress that we have made.
“In between we would play matches with Chapungu, Mutare City and just this last week with Bulawayo City.
“So from those preparatory matches I am sure we have been picking areas where we felt we needed to polish up and also where we needed to come up with reinforcements and I would want to think we have covered a lot of ground,” said Mangwiro.
Unfortunately, the Sunshine Boys will miss new defender, Jimmy Tigere, who has been ruled out with an injury.
The former CAPS United coach is confident that his charges, the new and the old, have blended in well ahead of the crunch tie.
“They (new players) seem to have gelled with others with ease, of course you would know that with more time they will get even better but, so far, we don’t have any problems they seem to have fitted well into the system.
“Yes, we will have situations whereby one is coming from a different team and we would want them to grasp what you want them to do but it is a process.
“So far so good, we are heading in the right direction and we just hope these guys will add value to our team,” said Mangwiro.
Harare City skipper Themba Ndlovu, who has taken over from David Kutyauripo, said they have targeted the mini league phase.
“Since it is our first time as Harare City to compete in this tournament, we are targeting the mini league and then we will see it from there. I think it is achievable,” said Ndlovu.
Harare City Final 18:
Maxwell Nyamupangedengu, Tatenda Munditi, Blessing Moyo, Themba Ndlovu, Arnold Chivheya, Edwin Madhananga, James Jam, William Manondo, Ronald Chitiyo, Raphael Manuvire, Kuda Kumwala, Francisco Zekumbawire, Munya Nyenye, Tendai Samanja, Crispen Dickson, Benson Maglas, Tanaka Ruzvidzo, Martin Vengesayi.