Phiri calls up Mutuma for Botswana All-Africa Games qualifier

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Dynamos’ promising striker Rodrick Mutuma has been included in the Under-23 national team expected to go into camp at the weekend to start preparations for the Zone VI All-Africa Games first-round qualifier.

Zimbabwe booked their place in this round after beating neigbours Zambia 4–3 in the preliminary round.

The Young Warriors will clash with the ever-improving Botswana away in Gaborone next Saturday.

Team manager Wellington Mpandare revealed on Tuesday Mutuma is one of only two changes to be made to the squad that beat Young Chipolopolo earlier this year.

The other change is of Coca-Cola championship side Reading’s Trevor Mutero who flew into the country on Sunday ahead of the tie.

“Mutuma has been playing well for Dynamos and the technical team has decided to give him a chance in the team,” said Mpandare.

The former Township Rovers player will compete for a starting jersey in a start-studded striking force with the irresistible Caps United forward Simba Sithole, Jomo Cosmos striker Mathew Rusike and Monomotapa’s Malvern Dumbura.

Regarded as one of the brightest teams to emerge in this country, the Young Warriors have promising talents like Joel Ngodzo, Ariel Sibanda, Denver Mukamba, Archford Gutu and Qadr Amini who have already made their mark in the senior squad.

The team, however, failed to go into camp on Tuesday as initially planned because of financial difficulties and are now expected to regroup at the weekend.

“We would have wanted to look at more players but that will not happen because the team is not going into camp as we had wanted. We are hopping Zifa will work on something before this weekend. We are now being confined to the 18 players who played against Zambia with only two changes in Mutero and Mutuma.”

Knowledge Machona will miss the Botswana first leg encounter due to suspension as he has two yellow cards.

Meanwhile, Mutero will join the Under-19 side that will take part in the Cosafa Super Cup Tournament in South Africa next month.

Under-19 manager Eddie Chivero yesterday told NewsDay Sport that the England-based winger would join camp after the assignment against Gaborone next Saturday.

“We have included Mutero in the list of our players. He will join camp soon after finishing his assignment against Botswana,” he said.

The squad will go into camp in April 11 in preparation for the tournament running from April 20 to 25.

The Young Warriors play Botswana on April 16 in the first leg in Gaborone. Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia and Swaziland will take part in the SA tournament.

Squad for Botswana

Goalkeepers: George Chikova, Ariel Sibanda
Defenders: Passmore Bernard, Lincoln Zvasiya, Qadr Amini, Steven Matsangaise, Blessing Sande
Midfielders: Joel Ngodzo, Rahman Kutsanzira, Timire Mamvura, Charles Mukanhairi, Tapiwa Mangezi, Denver Mukamba, Archford Gutu, Devon Chafa, Trevor Mutero
Strikers: Mathew Rusike, Simba Sithole, Malven Dumbura, Rodrick Mutuma