Young Warriors resume preparations for Botswana

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The Zimbabwe Under-23 national team resumed camp on Monday ahead of preparations for the All-Africa Games second round, first leg football qualifying match against Botswana on Friday.

Coach Friday Phiri and his troops leave the country by road tomorrow while the final 18 players will be announced today.

Team manager Wellington Mpandare on Monday told NewsDay Sport that players are now in camp and are ready to do duty for the nation despite inadequate preparations.

“There is never enough time to prepare for the match. It is very unfortunate that we did not get enough time to be in camp for longer. But the players are ready as they have been active in the Premiership.”

He said the only players who have not reported for duty are Chicken Inn goalkeeper Liberty Chirava and Bantu Rovers defender Edwin Nkomo, who was expected in the capital last night.

Chirava had been replaced by Francis Nicho of Motor Action. Other players in camp include FC Platinum midfielder Joel Ngodzo, Abbas Amidu of Black Mambas, Wellington Kamuda, Timire Mamvura and Russell Madamombe.

Denver Mukamba, Archford Gutu, Devon Chafa, United Kingdom-based Trevor Mutero, Malvern Dumbura, Matthew Rusike, Caps United’s Simba Sithole and Kiglon’s Patrick Kaunda are also in camp.

Mutero turns out for Reading in the English Championship and is also expected to be part of the Under-19 squad for the Cosafa Super Cup set for Cape Town, South Africa later this month.

Lincoln Zvasiya, Gunners left-back and skipper Qadr Amin, Obey Mwerahari, Victor Kamuka, Blessing Chimamuchere, Arial Sibanda and George Chigova are also battling for places in the final 18.

Zimbabwe defeated Zambia 4-3 on aggregate in the first round and if they get past Botswana, they will meet the winner between Angola and South Africa, who are also clashing this weekend, in the final qualifier.