Warriors caretaker coach Madinda Ndlovu has just four days to name his final 23-man travelling squad for the 2011 edition of the African Nations Championships (Chan) in Sudan as he prepares to welcome his troops into camp on Monday.
While the Confederation of African Football (Caf) have set January 24 as the deadline for the registration of the 16 squads for the participating nations, Zifa have made it clear that they need a full list of players by January 15, forcing the technical team to cancel the planned Chiredzi training camp.
Thirty players have been called up to camp, with Under-23 players Qadr Amini, Simba Sithole, Arial Sibanda, Denver Mukamba and Joel Ngodzo expected to start training tomorrow as they arrive on Monday from Zambia where they were part of the side that beat Zambia 2-3 in an All-Africa Games qualifier.
Ndlovu and his technical team will also have to deal with the issue of Motor Action players Bheki Ncube, Charles Sibanda and Allan Gahadzikwa who have been called up despite their team taking part in the Caf Orange Champions League.
Ndlovu said on Sunday: “There is no more camp in Chiredzi because of the new schedule we have received. While Caf wants the players list by January, Zifa wants that list by January 15 because there are a number of issues like kits that have to be labelled and visas that have to be sorted out.
“This basically means we can’t travel to Chiredzi. Training in Harare will also assist us as those Under-23 players will also benefit from the camp as they prepare for the return leg against Zambia. With the time limit, we just have to work on combinations and formations.”
Sithole (two) and Mukamba were on target in the win against Zambia.
“I am happy that the boys scored. I spoke to the coaches, who will be my assistants, yesterday (Saturday) and they said the boys played very well. This shows the project is moving in the right direction. If they could deliver three goals away from home, it means they played well.”
On the issue of players failing to report for camp for one reason or another, Ndlovu said: “I understand Bheki and Charles will be playing at Mimosa this season so that will not be a problem for me.
“ Tawanda Nyamandwe has gone to Motor Action and could be replaced by Danny Phiri (Bantu Rovers).
“If Joel (Ngodzo) goes to South Africa, I might look at Archieford Gutu or Fortune Ncube to replace him while Tawanda can be replaced by either Donald Ngoma or Clive Kawinga.”
The Warriors will play Ghana, South Africa and Niger in their second tournament, which is designed exclusively for players plying their trade in domestic leagues.
Thirty members of the home-based Black Stars side have been called up to resume preparations for Chan.
They also gather on Monday as coach Herbert Addo looks to finalise his final team, according to the Ghana Football Association.
As the Warriors struggle to play international matches before they leave on February 3, Niger will play Algeria on January 22.
Ndlovu said the issue of friendlies was now out: “That one is out; we might as well play against the Under-23s or try Motor Action.”
The Warriors will take on Niger on February 5, face Ghana four days later and the last group match against neighbours South Africa takes place on February 13.
In the inaugural edition of the tournament, Zimbabwe failed to make it to the last four after three draws against eventual winners the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Ghana.