Under-23 head coach Friday Phiri kept faith on the squad that humbled Zambia when he named an almost unchanged team for the Zone Six All-Africa Games qualifiers preliminary round second leg encounter set for Rufaro Stadium on Sunday.
The Young Warriors will go into the do-or- die encounter carrying a healthy 3 – 2 lead and if they can avoid a heavy defeat on Sunday, they will sail through to the first round of the competition where they will meet either South Africa or Angola.
Star striker Simba Sithole and the exciting Denver Mukamba scored the three vital away goals in Lusaka that put the Young Warriors on the verge of qualification.
Phiri dropped four players who travelled to Lusaka
Shooting Stars star Charles Mutero, who joined the rest of the squad on Wednesday from a job-hunting mission in Namibia, was the biggest loser while Bantu Rovers’ Liberty Chirava and Black Mambas’ Abbas Amidu could not make into the final 18.
Hard-tackling Knowledge Machona, who lost his father earlier this week, was also excused from the squad despite the player insisting that he wanted to play.
Lengthens skipper Steven Matsangaise, Kiglon’s Charles Mukanhairi, Motor Action’s Passmore Bernard and Highlanders’ rising sensation Joel Ngodzo were the four players included in the squad.
Team manager Wellington Mpandare expressed confidence that the final squad they named was capable of finishing off the Zambians.
“We have been training with the boys for the whole of this week and although it was hard to come up with the final 18 we are confident that those who made it to the final list can do the job for us,” said Mpandare.
“We played very well in Zambia and if the boys can play the way they did in Zambia I don’t see any reason why we can’t beat the Zambians,” Mpandare added.
The Young Warriors played brilliantly in Zambia with midfielders Denver Mukamba, Archford Gutu, Devon Chafa and striker Simba Sithole turning on the magic.
Meanwhile, Zambian Under 23 coach Lucky Msiska has made six changes to his team that was expected to arrive here last night ahead of Sunday’s crucial tie.
According to media reports from Zambia, Msiska has dropped Power Dynamos defender Govenda Simwala who flopped in the first leg and was subsequently substituted in the first half of the match.
He has also dropped the Nchanga Rangers duo of goalkeeper Fred Silwamba and striker Lewis Macha including Lusaka Dynamos midfielder Stanley Nshimbi.
Zacks United striker Nemon Nyirenda and Zesco United midfielder Innocent Mwaba have also been dropped.
Msiska has brought into the team Kabwe Warriors striker Alex Ngonga, Konkola Blades defender Christopher Munthali and Stophilla Sunzu of TP Mazembe in DR Congo.
Defenders Moses Mulambi and Gift Sakuwaha have been left out due to injury.
Young Warriors Squad
A Sibanda (Highlanders) G Chigova (Aces Youth Academy), B Sande (Hwange), Q Amin (Gunners), L Zvasiya (Monomotapa), C Mukanhairi (Kiglon), S Matsangaise (Lengthens), P Bernard (Motor Action),T Mamvura (Dynamos), R Kutsanzira (Highlanders), D Mukamba (Dynamos), A Gutu (Dynamos), S Sithole (Shooting Stars), D Chafa (Dynamos), T Mangezi (Gunners), M Dumbura (Eagles), M Rusike (Jomo Cosmos), J Ngodzo (Highlanders)