The Young Warriors, will fancy their chances of beating Botswana when the two clash in the opening match of the 2010 edition of the Metropolitan Cosafa Under 20 youth football championships at the University of Botswana Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Kick-off is 1600hrs.
The hosts’ preparations for the tournament have been erratic with media reports emerging from Botswana saying the team have not trained together for the past week because some of the players were writing examinations.
The Gazette newspaper on Thursday reported that the young Zebras coach, Ookeditse “China” Matlhaku was bitter with the way the team prepared for the tournament, with half of the squad missing part of the training schedule.
“At times they could not train together because some of them were writing exams,” China was quoted by the Gazette as having said.
This could be good news for the Young Warriors’ technical team who have assembled a relatively good side and have been in camp for the past two weeks in preparation for the games.
The team flew out of the country for Botswana on Wednesday afternoon.
Coach Taurai Mangwiro is optimistic his young lads are capable of bringing the title home.
“We hope to do well,” said Mangwiro.
“We have a formidable team with players from the lower leagues. We also have players from the premier league who will add the necessary experience needed in this competition.”
“I also have players who played in the last edition of the competition in South Africa and they know what is expected at this level. With the players I had in camp, we are definitely fancying our chances of winning the trophy,” added the Monomotapa coach.
Players who took part in the competition last year hosted by South Africa include goalkeeper George Chigova, Levison Dube, Edwin Nkomo, Lincoln Zvasiya, Marvellous Nakamba, Patrick Kaunda and Russel Madamombe.
However, Mangwiro should not be complacent as Botswana also have good players.
The team boasts of Notwane’s duo of Kenamile Mani and Lebohang Maswena, Kaelo Kgaswane of Gaborone United and Township Rollers duo of striker Phenyo Molefe and rightback Simisani Mathumo who will skipper the team.
Notwane, Township Rollers and Gaborone United are all Be Mobile teams, the country’s top flight league.
Only leaders from each of the four groups proceed to the semi-finals which will be staged on December 10 while the final follows two days later.