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Togo, Malawi snub Warriors

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Togo Football Association and the Football Association of Malawi have rejected offers by Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to have their teams play against the Warriors on August 11.

The Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa) has set aside the date for international friendly matches.

Benedict Moyo, the Zifa board member for competitions, revealed yesterday that Togo and Malawi had turned down their proposal and have set their sights on securing a contest with either Namibia or Mozambique.

“They (Togo and Malawi) said they found other teams to play on the same date. I think they were looking for better ranked teams and you can’t begrudge them for that. But we have got plans for the August 11 date and we intend to bring foreign-based players for the match if they are selected by the coach,” said Moyo.

While Zimbabwe struggles to organise better teams, lowly Taifa Stars of Tanzania will face an acid test on August 11 when they face African champions, the Pharaohs of Egypt in an international friendly encounter in Cairo.

Tanzania Football Federation information officer Florian Kaijage said the match is in line with the world soccer governing body Fifa calendar.

The match would be the first test for new Taifa Stars coach, Danish Jan Poulsen, who arrived on Sunday.

The coach takes over from Brazilian Marcio Maximo whose contract expired about a month ago.

Kaijage said the federation has been striving to get strong teams to give Taifa Stars a real test ahead of the qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations finals in Gabon in 2012.

Taifa Stars will launch their campaign against Algeria in an away game next month before facing Morocco in October.

“We believe the game will be an ideal training for the national team ahead of the Afcon qualifiers,” said Kaijage.

As a stop-gap measure, Zifa have thrust former captain Norman Mapeza as the caretaker coach.

His charges leave by road this morning for a friendly match against Botswana in Selebi Phikwe today.

Mapeza will use the match to prepare the national team ahead of an away fixture to Liberia in Monrovia. Motor Action coach Joey Antipas, Brenna Msiska and manager Sharrif Mussa will assist Mapeza.

Most of the players who are going to represent the country in Botswana played against Japan in South Africa when the Asian nation was preparing for the Fifa World Cup finals.

Highlanders’ defensive duo of captain Gilbert Banda and Zephaniah Ngodzo are among the defenders that Mapeza called up and will fight for starting places with Gilbert Mapemba who had a memorable game when the Warriors lost to Brazil on June 3 in Harare.

In the absence of Malajila and Marere, Entumbane-born striker Charles Sibanda is likely to earn his first cap for Zimbabwe.

Sibanda has been instrumental in Motor Action’s good start in the league that has seen them top the table.

Botswana have already played two Afcon qualifiers and lead the Group K standings, having beaten Tunisia and Chad with identical 1-0 scorelines. They face Malawi in their next encounter.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Edmore Sibanda, Washington Arubi

Defenders: Gilbert Mapemba, Daniel Veremu, Qadr Amin, Zephaniah Ngodzo, Gilbert Banda

Midfielders: Ashley Rambanapasi, Bhekimpilo Nyoni, Elvis Meleka, Charles Chiutsa, Allan Gahadzikwa, Richard Mteki.

Strikers: Evans Gwekwerere, Charles Sibanda.

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