Impressive youngsters from the Under-23 side will be given a chance to participate in the second edition of the African Nations Championships (Chan) set for Sudan next month as the Warriors technical team seeks to build a team for the future.
The training camp for the final entered the second day at Rufaro Stadium on Tuesday under the watchful eye of caretaker coach Madinda Ndlovu and his assistants Darlington Dodo, Friday Phiri and goalkeepers’ coach Richard Tswatswa despite morning showers
Warriors liaison officer and former Warriors winger Edzai Kasinauyo said the travelling squad will be made up mostly of youngsters.
“We want to give them an opportunity; our future lies in these youngsters,” said Kasinauyo.
The youngsters in the squad who are likely to make it to Sudan are Ariel “Zombie” Sibanda, Archieford “Uche” Gutu, Denver Mukamba, Qadr Amin, Simba Sithole and Abasi Amidu, who were part of the victorious Under-23 squad that humbled Zambia in the Zone VI All-Africa Games qualifiers.
Joel “Josta” Ngodzo, who missed the trip to Lusaka as he was on trials in South Africa, was showing touches of brilliance at training on Tuesday and will be hard to ignore for Madinda and company.
However, the Warriors technical team is sweating over the fitness of Dynamos defender Guthrie Zhokinyi who sat out of training on Tuesday because of an ankle injury.
“We were just resting him, it’s a minor injury and we hope he will be fit for the tournament. There is still time for him to recover,” assured Kasinauyo.
Kasinauyo also said they had enough time to prepare the squad for the upcoming 2011 edition of Chan and would “definitely” beat the Friday deadline set by Zifa to submit the names of the travelling party.
The 16-nation tournament, reserved only for players playing in the local premiership of their respective countries, gets underway on February 4 and ends on February 20.
The bulk of the Warriors team started trooping into camp on Monday with four players from the victorious Under-23 squad joining the rest of the squad on Tuesday.
All 30 players named in the squad, except for Highlanders captain Zephaniah Ngodzo, trained at Rufaro stadium yesterday under the supervision of coach Madinda Ndlovu and his two assistants Phiri and Dodo.
There have been concerns that the Warriors technical team will fail to beat the Friday deadline set by Zifa to submit the names of the 23-man travelling squad.
The Confederation of African Football has set January 24 as the deadline for the registration of the 16 squads for the tournament but Zifa wants the names on Friday.
The Warriors’ intended camp Chiredzi was also cancelled due to the new schedule and the team is contemplating on playing league champions Motor Action or the Under-23 side as preparatory matches for the tournament.
“Save for those who were in Zambia with the Under-23, the rest started training yesterday (Monday) and they all reported for camp today (Tuesday),” said the former Warriors winger yesterday. “We are now waiting for Ngodzo who we expect to join the team tomorrow (Wednesday).
“The boys are happy, it’s a good start because we started off well. Hopefully the mood will continue as we progress. Everyone is looking forward to the tournament, and you can see that they are all eager to represent their country. We have three days to look at all the players and we hope that by Friday we will have the final list,” said Kasinauyo.