Zifa is battling to get an international friendly match for the Warriors ahead of their 2011 African Nations Championships (Chan) appearance in Sudan in February.
The Warriors were left with egg on their face after they failed to confirm a friendly against Zambia on time, resulting in the southern region neighbours opting to play Kuwait in Cairo, Egypt on Friday.
The match between Zimbabwe and Zambia was initially scheduled for Rufaro on December 19 but was called off as the local Premiership was yet to be concluded.
On Wednesday, Zifa board member (competitions), Benedict Moyo said they had no choice over a preparatory match as caretaker coach Madinda Ndlovu named a 30-man training squad that will go into camp on January 9 to prepare for the North African finals.
“We have no option over this issue, we have to get a match or two before the team departs for Sudan,” he said.
But what seems to be working against Zifa is that Fifa has reserved February 9 as the date for international friendly matches and that falls five days after the Sudanese championships will have started. They run from February 4-24.
Ndlovu has retained a number of players who have been active in previous Warriors assignments but also cast his net wider, including unknown players like Ben Nyahunzvi of Black Mambas and Munyaradzi Mungadzi of Ziscosteel.
There were places for veterans Tofireyi Sambo, Highlanders’ Francis Kanda and goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda and Elvis Meleka of Gunners, although seven of the players in the 30-man squad will be dropped for the trip.
Ndlovu stuck to most of the players he took to Mozambique on November 19 for an international friendly: Gilbert Mapemba, Daniel Vheremu, Zephaniah Ngodzo, Benjamin Marere and Qadr Amin, while adding the best from league champions Motor Action in Bheki Ncube, Charles Sibanda and Allan Gahadzikwa.
He dropped big Caps United goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda in preference of Under 23 goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda and Gunners’ Tafadzwa Dube. While the Caps United goalkeeper looked a sure berth for a call up, the technical team opted for Washington Arubi and Hwange’s Timothy Sibanda.
Team manager Chris Chitindi said the team will go into camp on January 9 and would then be trimmed to 23 for the final travelling party.
The Warriors will be looking to better their perfomance at the last appearance in Ivory Coast in 2009 when they drew all their three group matches and failed to qualify for the semi-finals.
They drew 2-2 against Ghana, who they will meet again, 1-1 against eventual champions the Democratic Republic of Congo and 0-0 against North Africans Libya to finish third.
This time, they have been drawn against neighbours South Africa, who have indicated they would use their Under 23 squad as part of their preparations for the London 2012 Olympic qualifiers and the Maputo All-Africa Games.
On the technical front, the Zifa presidium led by Cuthberth Dube and his two deputies Ndumiso Gumede and Kenny Marange are working around the clock to ensure a substantive coach is in place as early as next month. They have placed US-based Charles Mhlauri and Rahman Gumbo, who coaches in Botswana, on their radar.
Goalkeepers: W Arubi (Dynamos), T Dube (Gunners), T Sibanda (Hwange) A Sibanda (Highlanders)
Defenders: N Khanye (CAPS United), G Zhokinyi (Dynamos), D Vheremu (Gunners), B Nyahunzvi (Black Mambas), D Boriwondo (Hwange), G Mapemba (CAPS United), Z Ngodzo (Highlanders), Q Amin (Gunners), M Mungadzi (Ziscosteel), A Chivheya (Lengthens)
Midfielders: C Chiutsa (Monomotapa), E Mudzingwa (Highlanders), A Amidu (Black Mambas), B Ncube (Motor Action), I Madziva (Black Mambas), B Marere (Dynamos), J Ngodzo (Highlanders), D Mukamba (Kiglon), T Sambo (Shooting Stars), A Gahadzikwa (Motor Action), E Meleka (Gunners)
N Maroto (Gunners), C Sibanda (Motor Action), F Kanda (Highlanders), S Sithole (Shooting Stars).