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Tough tie for Young Warriors


Zimbabwe Under-23 take on South Africa in the reverse fixture of the Zone VI All-Africa Games qualifier at Rufaro Stadium Saturday and have the huge task of overturning the 2-0 deficit suffered in the return fixture at Rand Stadium a fortnight ago.

The Young Warriors fell to a Bongani Ndulula brace and will now have to score three clear goals to qualify for the finals set for Maputo in September this year.

However, as has been the norm for the Young Warriors during this campaign, the preparations for the must win encounter have not been ideal.

The team only regrouped last Sunday for the match, in contrast to their opponents who did not break camp after the first leg encounter.

Reports are the Young Warriors were displeased with the pathetic state of the Zifa Village where they were housed and subsequently rebelled before they were moved to a local hotel Friday.

Chief Striker Simba Sithole remained doubtful for the match as he had not joined camp by Friday while Tafadzwa Rusike and England-based Trevor Mutero have been ruled out for the do-or-die match.

Defender Knowledge Machona who received a knock in South Africa has also failed to recover and will not be part of the cast Sunday.

There were however positive news in the camp with the arrival of talisman Archford Gutu from South Africa where he was undergoing trials with Absa premiership side SuperSport.

The midfielder, who missed the first leg due to suspension, will be expected to add some attacking and creative force in the midfield, a department that proved to be the team’s Achilles heel in South Africa.

Mathew Rusike, who is expected to go for trials with English Premiership side Bolton, was passed fit for the match Friday after he had been laid down with a bout of flu for the better part of this week.

“The guys are prepared for the match, I’m quite confident we will qualify for the All-Africa games. There have been problems with issues pertaining to their allowances but they have proved in the past that they can do it with or without the money. For them it’s not about money but it’s about their careers. It is in such tournaments like the All-Africa Games where they can be noticed. We have good players in camp who are capable of beating South Africa by three goals. If they (South Africa) can score two at their home ground, what will stop us from doing the same?” said Young Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare.

The South African side jetted into the country on Thursday night and trained at the match venue Friday.

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