Ray Bande Senior Reporter
AT a time when some top flight league clubs are struggling to make ends meet let alone assemble competitive teams, Manicaland flagship football outfit Manica Diamonds continue with the proper and professional approach to football business after taking their team on a week-long preseason camp in the secluded shores of Lake Mutirikwi in Masvingo this week.
The preseason camp in Masvingo is expected to culminate into Manica Diamonds’ first friendly match against one of the Eastern Region Division One teams based in the country’s oldest city on Sunday before the club returns to its base in Mutare.
Such is the determination and classy act that Manica Diamonds are hoping to maintain in the domestic Premiership that all pre-season preparation essentials are covered and when the season finally gets underway Luke Masomere’s men would have moved from being a squad to a team.
The Gem Boys, as Manica Diamonds are fondly referred to by their growing fan base in the province, finally opted for a pre-season camp in the environs of Lake Mutirikwi (formerly Lake Kyle) ahead of two other destinations – Kariba and the port city of Beira – that were initially in their plans.
When asked about their pre-season preparations including the weeklong camp in Masvingo, Coach Masomere said so far so good.
“I really cannot complain. So far so good! Our preparations are going on well at Lake Mutirikwi. I am really hoping that by the time that we finish of this camp our players will have a better understanding of each other on and off the field of play.
“This camp is a moment to gel. It is a moment to come together as a family and understand each other better. It is a time meant for bonding, something that is of great importance for any team to compete favourably,” he said.
Masomere said the choice to camp in Masvingo was informed by the desire to have a secluded and unfamiliar site for the players and their technical team.
“It is always advisable to have a pre-season camp in an area that is secluded and unfamiliar for the players and their technical team. This enables both players and technical team to be together all the time without any kind of intrusion. We felt that Lake Mutirikwi and its environs could provide just that,” he said.
The well travelled gaffer said they are working on both the physical and mental fitness of the players.
“We are working hard to create a competitive outfit that can beat any team in the Premiership at any given day. We are working on both the physical and mental fitness of the players.
“The good thing is that they are responding well and the camp is a success to us. I have no doubt that these players will bring smiles on faces of progressive football followers in Manicaland and beyond,” said Masomere.
Manica Diamonds embarked on a week long pre-season camp after completion of their player recruitment programme that saw the Gem Boys signing the 30 players that they will register with the Premier Soccer League.
Although the composition of the 30 players that were signed raised a lot of dust with the debate centred on perceived exclusion of players who trace their roots to Mutare, the process of confidence building is underway as progressive fans are now hoping for entertaining brand of football from the Gem Boys when the season starts.