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Chan squad to be announced on Saturday

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The Under-23 players in camp are set to dominate the Warriors list when caretaker coach Madinda Ndlovu and his two assistants Friday Phiri and Darlington Dodo name the final 23 man squad for the African Nations Championships (Chan) on Saturday.

The 16-nation tournament is to be hosted by Sudan from February 4 – 25.

The Warriors are in Group B which also features debutants South Africa, 2009 semi-finalists Ghana and Niger.

While the Confederation of African Football has set January 24 as the deadline for all the nations to submit their squads, Zifa has instructed the Warriors team to present their final squad before Sunday.

The Black Stars, who are Group B favourites have already named their final 23 while the other members of the group are also expected to name theirs in the coming few days.

Zimbabwe will open their campaign with a relatively easier game against little known Niger before engaging the Black Stars and will finish their group games against neighbours South Africa.

The Warriors technical team who has called up a bloated squad of 31 players into camp are faced with a huge dilemma as they have to scratch off eight players and remain with the required 23.

However, it is the Under 23 players in camp who are almost certain of making it into the final 23 after impressing the technical team during the five days they have been training.

The members of the technical team have all spoke glowingly of the young players, who to their credit have been showing touches of brilliance at training.

Six Young Warriors players are in camp and they are goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda, midfielders Denver Mukamba, Archieford Gutu, Joel Ngodzo, Abbas Amidu and highly rated striker Simba Sithole.

Speaking to NewsDay Sport after the team’s morning session on Friday, assistant coach Dodo confirmed they would be trimming the squad on Saturday after the team’s afternoon training session and the young guns are set to dominate the list.

“We had put a long programme of three to four weeks because we wanted to assess all the players, giving everyone a chance but because of these new schedule and deadlines we have to submit the names tomorrow (Saturday),” said the Gunners head coach.

“We will do with what we have at the moment, it is very unfortunate for those who will be eliminated, but we have to do it. The young players have been doing great.

“Friday (Phiri) and I have worked with them and we know what they are capable of, we believe in these young boys,” said Dodo.

“We are not doing it for the Chan only but we want to build a very formidable national team and the only way to do that is to introduce these young players into the system, they are the future,” added the 2009 league champion winner.

“Even if we were going for a World Cup we were going to give these young players a chance, they still have that zeal to win. Playing in such tournaments also gives them the necessary exposure. They played very well in Zambia and we want to give them another chance to prove themselves,” Dodo said.

The Young Warriors cruised to a 3 – 2 victory over northern neigbours Zambia in the Zone VI All Africa Games qualifiers with Gutu, Mukamba and Sithole turning on the magic for the team and it was by no surprise that they were included in the senior team.

Dodo admitted that they were having a headache over goalkeeper selection. Four goalies, Washington Arubi, Sibanda, Tafadzwa Dube and Timothy Sibanda are in camp and one has to be dropped.

“They are all good goalkeepers but we have to drop one, we are still discussing on who to leave behind.

“But all the players still have a chance to play in the tournament because if one of the players in the final list gets injured we are allowed to replace him so those who will not make it in the list tomorrow should not lose hope,” said Dodo.

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