Under-23 striker Mathew Rusike has been provided with a chance of a lifetime after he has been called for trials by English Premiership football side Bolton Wanderers.
The news comes ahead of the Young Warriors’ Zone VI All Africa Games first leg, final qualifier match against South Africa on Saturday.
In another boost for the squad captain Qadr Amini who missed training due to a nagging ankle injury was named in the final 18 squad that was announced by the team’s technical team on Wednesday
The two neighbouring countries engage each other at Sinaba Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday with the winner taking a giant step in qualifying for the finals to be staged in Maputo, Mozambique, in September.
South Africa’s Amaglug-glug will then visit Harare in two weeks time for the decider.
From the final 18 that were announced by team manager Wellington Mpandare on Wednesday, the technical department retained the core of the team that beat Botswana 6-2 on aggregate in the second round.
Archford Gutu makes a return to the squad after serving his two-match ban, while Warriors and Ajax Cape Town left-winger Tafadzwa Rusike also returns to national Under-23 team after a long lay-off.
Mpandare revealed negotiations for release of Rusike’s teammate Khama Billiat for the match had faltered with his team maintaining they wanted the skilful player at training on the same day Zimbabwe play South Africa.
However, the biggest news in the Young Warriors squad was inclusion of Amini who spent last week struggling with his ankle.
The Gunners left-back was doubtful after missing his team’s last two Castle Lager Premier Soccer League matches against Shooting Stars and Blue Ribbon because of the injury.
He also spent the better part of the week doing light training.
Midfielders Devon Chafa, Abbas Amidu and Gutu also trained separately on Tuesday as they struggled with some knocks, but were certified fit and named in the travelling party.
“Qadr has been making some good progress. He was involved in training for the past few days, he looks fit and ready for the Saturday match.
The other players were carrying minor knocks but have also been certified fit. Everyone looks in good condition now,” said Mpandare.
The team is expected to fly out of the country on Thursday morning.
Young Warriors final squad
Goalkeepers: Ariel Sibanda,
Defenders: Lincoln Zvasiya, Qadr Amini, Obey Mwerahari, Knowledge Machona, Morris Kadzola
Midfielders: Joel Ngodzo, Abbas Amidu, Devon Chafa, Timire Mamvura, Archford Gutu, Russel Madamombe, Tafadzwa Rusike, Trevor Mutero
Strikers: Simba Sithole, Mathew Rusike, Ngonidzashe Maviri