Mugove Chigada in MAHAJANGA, Madagascar
HARARE City star Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo says he appreciates the love and support he received from Dynamos fans in the past before he crossed the floor this year.
This is the first time that Rooney has spoken about his move from DeMbare to Harare City, a switch which irked the blue side of the city.
After that development, which also saw right-back Blessing Moyo following suit, such was the animosity among some DeMbare fans they decided to support Malagasy side, AS Adema, in the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round, first leg tie at Rufaro a fortnight ago.
The former DeMbare star, who scored on his debut that afternoon in a 3-2 win, will be expected to have a big say again in the reverse fixture at Rabemananjara Stadium tomorrow.
“I thank the Dynamos fans for the support that they gave me when I was part of the club. I understand fans’ feelings but it is all part of football and I will always appreciate their backing during the time I played for them,” said Chitiyo.
“Obviously I will miss them a lot but now I have to focus on my new challenge at Harare City.
“I will put my best possible effort to try and make sure that we do well in this CAF club competition. Yes, we allowed these guys to score two goals at Rufaro and that makes it a bit difficult for us, but the biggest advantage is that we are leading.
“If they can score goals in Harare then there is nothing that can stop us from scoring goals here.”
Kick-off is 2:30 pm here in Mahajanga and 1:30 pm (Zimbabwe time).
Harare City arrived in this west coastal city of Mahajanga on Wednesday evening.
Taurai Mangwiro’s charges had their first training session on Thursday afternoon at the match venue with about 300 spectators watching from the terraces.
Although Harare City were not happy with the fact that they were not given privacy, coach Mangwiro said it was understandable given the city rarely get CAF club competitions.
AS Adema were forced to move away from their home in the capital city of Madagascar, Antananarivo, as their stadium needs to be upgraded to meet CAF standards.
That move has forced them and local rivals CNAPS Sport, who are also playing a CAF Champions League match today at the same stadium, to organise road shows for support.
Rooney says they will not be intimidated by the environment in the stadium.
“I think we have a number of players with experience. The coaches know exactly what we should do and we are ready to play to instructions.
“Yes, I have just joined but I’m beginning to have a good understanding with some of the players. Football is just the same.
“As a midfielder, I also want to score goals for the team and that is one of the things I want to achieve for the club. It was good to score on my debut as it gives me confidence and I want to continue scoring goals,” he said.
Raphael Manuvire, who also joined City at the same time as Rooney, after the expiry of his contract at ZPC Kariba, scored a brace in the first leg.
“It is an advantage when anyone can score goals and we need that on Sunday (tomorrow),” Rooney added.
At City, the talented midfielder has been reunited with Mangwiro.
Although Rooney had made some cameo roles at Douglas Warriors for his debut appearance in the Premiership, it was Mangwiro who gave him more responsibility at Monomotapa and in the national Under-20 team.
“He is good coach and nothing much has changed since we separated.
“I understand his style and it has not been difficult understanding what I should do,” said Rooney.
Harare City had another training yesterday morning at the match venue while AS Adema trained in the afternoon after arriving in the coastal city on the same day as their opponents.
There will be no training at the match venue today, 24 hours before kick-off, as another Malagasy side CNAPS Sport face Gor Mahia in the CAF Champions League.