With both the media and the football followers expressing doubt of local champions, Gunners success against six-time African champions, Al Ahly, Darlington Dodos charges rose to the occasion and turned Rufaro into a battlefield of David and Goliath. They were termed Little Gunners and shackled off the tag to balloon into mighty Hercules. Their clash was considered a mission impossible but they untangled all knots to win 1-0 courtesy of Norman Maroto.
Anyone was forgiven for underestimating the novices of the continental club showdown when faced with a full strength Al Ahly side, which did not only feature one of Egypts best striker Mohamed Aboutrika, but also one of the countrys toughest defenders, Wael Gomaa.
When The Zimbabwean interviewed former Dynamos striker Edward Sadomba, last year, he revealed his respect for Gomaa who he attributed as the defender who gave him a torrid time in the African Safari.
But Maroto last week had his way with the tall defender. The Glamour Boys also proved an experienced force to reckon with by grabbing an away victory in Democratic Republic of Congo. DeMbare were beginning their campaign in the first round after receiving a bye in the preliminary round.
Despite the tough weeks of training that was haunted by players unsettled salaries and off the field power disputes that seemed to have spilled into the ground, the Glamour Boys proved powerful.
Malajila was the man behind Dynamos victory after his 70th minute strike. Gunners have a lot of work to do before the return leg in Cairo as Al Ahly boast of a good home record. It will be a tough assignment for Chando Kupisa but the team can draw inspiration from countrymen, DeMbare who broke Etoile du Sahels winning spell at home when they humiliated them 1-0 in Tunisia to send them out of the African Safari, in 2008.
Meanwhile the going got tough for Lengthens who fell 0-3 to Tanzanian outfit, Simba F.C; in their first round first leg encounter in a match goalkeeper Lovemore Makuvarara shouldered all the blame from his coach Mandla Masuku for conceding those silly goals. Caps United were held to a 1-all draw by visiting South African side, Moroka Swallows.Post published in: Football