The Zimbabwe Under-23 soccer team will play their South African counterparts in two friendly matches tomorrow and Sunday, it has been confirmed.
Zifa board member (competitions) Benedict Moyo Wednesday confirmed the fixtures which he said had been requested by the South Africa Football Association (Safa) to aid their preparations for the 2012 London Olympic Games qualifiers.
Zimbabwe had been paired against Cameroon in the qualifiers but the West Africans were given a bye into the next round after Zimbabwe’s pull out.
“It’s now confirmed, that matches are on and they will be arriving at the Joshua Nkomo International airport Thursday. Our team could have been using the matches in preparing for same tournament but the previous Zifa board withdrew all junior teams from international tournaments,” said Moyo.
Under-23 manager Tawinei Nhachi named a 27-man squad which was expected to troop into camp yesterday afternoon ahead of their first training session this afternoon.
The team, which is a mixture of players in the Premier League and the Division One Leagues, will be coached by former coach of the year Philani Ncube who will be assisted by Gunners coach Darlington Dodo and Peter Nkomo as the goalkeepers’ coach.
“Some of the players have been in action for their teams in their respective leagues and will be arriving later today (Wednesday).”
The Premier League players in the team include Highlanders goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda and his teammate Joel Ngodzo, Bantu Rovers’ Danny Phiri while Dynamos has Timire Mamvura and Augustine Mbara. The matches against South Africa will be a welcome development for the team after their trip to Egypt for an invitational tournament was cancelled at the last minute last month.
Goalkeepers: Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders), Liberty Chirava (Bantu Rovers), Tendai Hove (Chrome Stars)
Defenders: Moses Demera (Gunners), Charles Mutero (Shooting Stars), Passmore Bernard (Motor Action), Augustine Mbara (Dynamos), Lincoln Zvasiya ( Monomotapa), Tendai Ndlovu (Highlanders), Stephen Matangaise (Lengthens), Kenneth Kusemwa (Highlanders), Thabani Ruzariro (Chicken Inn
Midfielders: Timire Mamvura (Dynamos), Danny Phiri (Highlanders), Joel Ngodzo (Highlanders), Craven Tamirepi (Ziscosteel), Raphael Madamombe (Madamombe), Frank Bushire (Mimosa), January Timothy (Sparrows), Abbas Amidu (Black Mambas), Mitsheli Sibanda (Quelaton)
Strikers: Simbarashe Sithole (Shooting Stars), Donald Ngoma (Mimosa), Malvern Dumbura (Eagles), Farai Masusunye(Shabanie Mine), Robert Kunkenyi (Mimosa)