The Sunday Mail
DYNAMOS coach Tonderai Ndiraya wasted no time on his maiden tour of duty in Europe with the youthful gaffer immediately getting down to business with a familiarisation visit of the KV Mechelen training facilities hours after his arrival.
Ndiraya flew to Belgium on Wednesday for an attachment that was initially pencilled for just one Belgian Jupiler League side Mechelen.
But to his pleasant surprise, Ndiraya found that his hosts had now also lined up visits for him to two other top clubs – Anderlecht and Genk.
With Dynamos’ sponsors Gold Leaf tobacco through their RG brand upping the stakes and flexing some of their financial muscle in the quest to help the Glamour Boys reclaim the championship, Ndiraya’s attachment to Mechelen has not come as a surprise.
Dynamos have not won domestic football’s ultimate prize since the end of a trail-blazing four-year era under Kalisto Pasuwa when they dominated the 2011-2014 seasons.
Their national Under-23 coach, Ndiraya, however, told The Sunday Mail Sport from Antwerp that he had grabbed the opportunity with both hands and would seek to maximise on the learning experience he will undergo in the European country.
Although he had some qualms about the biting Belgian winter, Ndiraya said he was happy to have had more opportunities to visit and study the different club set-ups as this will equip him with varying approaches that he can use for the benefit of his beloved Dynamos in particular and the Young Warriors at large.
He was also due to watch the first of the Belgian matches last night with KV Mechelen hosting Waasl Beveren at the AFAS stadium and paid tribute to consultant Gino Laureyssen and coach Valerie Billen who have been behind his trip.
“The reception has been fantastic since the day I landed. I was driven straight from the airport to the small town of Michelen where KV Mechelen is based. Michelen is a town in the famous Antiwerpen province.
“Gino, through coach Valerie Billen, who visited Zimbabwe some time last year, has been very supportive of my stay here so far,’’ Ndiraya said.
He also lauded the KV Mechelen technical director for the manner they had received him.
“Dennis Hendrickx, KV Mechelen’s sporting director, has also been very supportive and he is making sure that I am having access to all the team’s training facilities as well as attend the team’s training sessions.
“Yesterday (Thursday) I toured the team’s main pitch at AFAS Stadium as well as the academy facilities, today (Friday) I had the privilege of watching the team’s final training session before tomorrow’s (last night) home match against W. Beveren.
“I have been provided with VVIP tickets for tomorrow’s match which kicks off at 2030 hours.
“In the morning I will attend the club’s academy training and get an appreciation of how they are operating from the Academy Director as well as Dennis Hendrickx, the club’s sporting director.
“Tomorrow morning I will travel to Genk another top-flight team to watch another training session. On Monday I will be at Anderlecht before coming back to Mechelen.
“I will spend most of next week at KV Mechelen before travelling for their away match on Friday. It is a very busy schedule for me and would like to most sincerely thank my club Dynamos FC, KV Mechelen FC, Genk FC, Anderlecht FC as well as Gino, Dennis Hendrickx and coach Vallery for this great opportunity they gave me to learn.
“Indeed, I am learning and I will come back home with a fresh mind and better football ideas,’’ Ndiraya said.
The emergence of more deals to visit Genk and Anderlecht have also charmed Dynamos chairman Isiah Mupfurutsa, who has described Ndiraya’s visit to Belgium as the start of bigger things to come in terms of “our technical partnerships with the Belgians’’.
Anderlecht are the parent club of Warriors’ skipper Knowledge Musona.
Mupfurutsa believes that accessing the training venues and the technical departments of the three top Belgian clubs will stand Ndiraya and Dynamos in good stead ahead of the start of the 2020 season.
“It’s an intensive but very fruitful visit and we are happy for our coach and we believe we can only get better and benefit immensely from such partnerships.
“Talking to the coach you can understand what this means to him and to the club,’’ Mupfurutsa said.