BY TERRY MADYAUTA
MANICA Diamonds could have lost some of their stars during the transfer window, but team coach Johannes Nhumwa remains optimistic and believes the squad he has assembled is formidable.
The Manicaland-based team finished fifth position on the log standings last year on their debut and with the resources that they have, many would expect them to kick on from there.
There could be problems for them though after they failed to retain some of their best players from last season, most of them who were very instrumental in their impressive showing.
Defender Partson Jaure, who captained the team last year re-joined his former club Dynamos, while the pair of Stanley Ngala and Last Jesi were both snapped up by FC Platinum.
Goalkeeper Chenjerai Dube moved to TelOne.
Nhumwa though, is wearing a brave face and thinks the squad he has assembled was good enough to challenge for the honours when the league starts.
“We want to improve from what we did last season,” Nhumwa said.
“Last season was different because we had a mature squad, but we were slow in terms of reaction, but now we have managed to solve that problem. We added some fine players to the squad and I am confident that they will make us a much stronger outfit.”
Some of the players who have joined the club include goalkeeper Ashley Reyners, who was signed from Black Rhinos to replace Dube.
Experienced defender Themba Ndlovhu joined from army-side Buffaloes and would be expected to fit in the big boots left by Jaure.
The team also signed defensive link-man Xolisani Moyo from Ngezi Platinum, Lucky Vundla from Hwange and Michael Tapera from Masvingo United.
Former ZPC Kariba pair of Tawanda Nyamandwe and Talent Chamboko are also part of their list of signings.
Nhumwa joined the side midway through the season, replacing Luke Masomere who was blamed for the team’s slow start to their PSL campaign.
The new coach managed to stabilise things and many believed that had Nhumwa joined the team earlier, they could have challenged for the league title, which was eventually won by FC Platinum.
But he has a chance to show his capabilities when the season finally kicks off later this year after its start was put on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak which has virtually grounded all activities across the globe.
Besides the need to overcome the departure of some of the key players in the squad, Nhumwa will also face formidable opposition to the league title after all the PSL clubs strengthened their squads in the player transfer window.
Champions FC Platinum were once again one of the busiest teams on the market, and so were the country’s traditional big three Dynamos, Highlanders and Caps United.
Ngezi Platinum Stars also signed no less than 12 new players, including former Soccer Star of the Year Denver Mukamba and the Mhondoro Ngezi-based team is one to watch when the season starts.
Manica Diamonds will be looking to become the second team from outside the capital Harare and Bulawayo to win the league title after FC Platinum, who won it three times in a row.