MUTARE – Ambitious Premier League debutants Manica Diamonds FC coach Luke Masomere is satisfied he has built a competitive outfit that can compete with the best in the new season.
Masomere’s men, known as the Gem Boys, went on a week-long pre-season camp at Lake Mutirikwe in Masvingo last week.
Last Sunday, the team played its first friendly match against Eastern Region Division One outfit United Lions and won 3-1 at Mucheke Stadium.
Masomere is upbeat they will achieve their first target, which is to survive relegation.
“I have no doubt that these players will bring smiles on faces of progressive football followers. We are not afraid of any team in the premiership,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.
The biggest hurdle for any player adjusting to the Premier League was on the mental side, he said.
“It’s important to work on the mental fitness of the players, that’s the reason we have done a week-long camp at Lake Mutirikwe,” he explained.
“The first friendly match has given us an opportunity to fine-tune the team and we’re working hard to create a competitive outfit that can beat any team in the Premier League at any given day.”
The team has completed the signing of several players with Premier League experience and according to the chairman, Masimba Chihowa, their final team will be a mixture of youth and experience.
Among the new arrivals are goalkeeper Tafadzwa Dube who has played for CAPS United, Harare City and Mutare City and former Dynamos striker Benjamin Marere.
They have also snatched central midfielder Takunda Jephreys from relegated Mutare City Rovers; former FC Platinum and Young Warriors striker Marshal Mudehwe; former Dynamos and CAPS United midfielder Wisdom Mutasa; former Dynamos defender Partson Jaure; former Dynamos midfielder Peace Makaha and left back Prichard Mpelele who arrives from Harare City.
Some football pundits have quickly accused the team of signing old players at the sunset of their careers.
“People must not judge us. Let’s wait for the games to begin. We know that experience is required in any game and when we signed these players we were satisfied with them,” Chohowa explained.
He said they had assembled a team with an average of 23 years.
“We have assembled a team mixed with Premier League experience and Division One football and we hope that this mixture will make us competitive,” the chairman said.