A Zimbabwean national in Ghana has deplored the travel arrangements by Premiership giants Dynamos for the Caf Confederations Cup first round, second leg tie against Ghanaian representatives King Faysal in Kumasi tomorrow.
Dynamos are scheduled to leave Harare today for Accra, via Johannesburg, and then connect from the Ghanaian capital to Kumasi and they will not have enough rest ahead of the match in which they are hoping to overturn a one-goal deficit.
King Faysal won the first leg 1-0 at the National Sports Stadium a fortnight ago with Eric Gawu grabbing the all-important away goal although it could have been more had it not been for the heroics of Dynamos defenders and captain James Matola.
It had been expected that Dynamos would travel early and give themselves enough time to acclimatise and also practice at the match venue but this has not been the case considering that King Faysal arrived in Harare on a Tuesday for the first leg that was played on a Sunday.
Stewart Manamike, a Zimbabwean national in Ghana, yesterday said Dynamos were making life difficult for themselves by travelling on the eve of a crucial game given the difficult conditions in Ghana.
"I am a Zimbabwean in Ghana and read with amazement, in todays Herald, Dynamos travel plans to Ghana. Maybe you might like to speak to Ignatius Pamire in reference to the below points:
"For Dynamos to depart Harare on Friday (today) at 0715hrs, arrive in Accra at almost midnight, then proceed to Kumasi (more than 350km away), then play on Saturday and expect to win is taking things for granted.
"They cant be serious, as we say. Are they flying from Accra to Kumasi? If they are going to use the road then they are as good as finished. Even if they charter a flight to Kumasi, which I doubt they have, when will the players rest, stretch their legs?
"The odds against DeMbare are that they will not have enough time to acclimatise. They have to deal with the high temperatures and a suffocating humidity. The trip by road from Accra to Kumasi usually takes a minimum of 5 hours, and is a trying one for a typical Zimbabwean. No one can sleep in the bus on this road unless when one is a local who is used to it.
"The road is heavily pot-holed, dangerously narrow and congested by convoys of heavy-duty trucks coming from the Tema harbour. After an hour on the field of play, most players will be finding it difficult to breathe, and will be asking to be substituted," said Manamike.
Dynamos found themselves in these difficult conditions after the interim executive struggled to secure funding for the trip until Wednesday afternoon although they refused to reveal the source(s) of the rescue package.
King Faysal coach Herbert Addo has promised his players will play with their heads up tomorrow as they will not be trying to sit on the first leg score.
"We consider Saturdays game as starting on a scoreless sheet, because we want to go all out to advance to the next stage of the competition," said Addo in yesterdays Chronicle of Ghana.
Meanwhile, whoever wins tomorrows match in Kumasi will face Santos in the second round after the South African side were awarded the first round tie against Mtibwa Sugar of Tanzanian, who pulled out of the second leg citing financial problems.
Mtibwa, who lost the first leg 3-0 at home two weeks ago, will now automatically be suspended from all continental club football for the next two years and they will also face a huge financial penalty from Caf as they have deprived Santos of some revenue from the home leg.
Santos are currently third in the South African Premiership with 46 points from 26 matches but are nowhere near reclaiming the league championship as they trail leaders and favourites Kaizer Chiefs, who have played three games less, by eight points.
However, they will return to the Caf Confederations Cup next year if they manage to hang on to third place.