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Warriors leave for Cecafa


The Warriors leave this morning for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to take part in the 2011 edition of the Cecafa Tusker Senior Challenge Cup which begins tomorrow.

Nicky Moyo-Dhlamini, Zifa communications manager, said the national team will leave at 11am.

The Warriors were a last-minute replacement for Namibia who pulled out because their Premier Soccer League is still on, as confirmed by Cecafa secretary-general Nicholas Musonye yesterday.

“Namibia have told us that their league is still in progress and that is why we took Zimbabwe, which is a strong team,” Musonye was quoted as saying.

The Warriors will begin their campaign against Djibouti on Sunday before taking on Rwanda on November 29 and rounding up their group stage matches against Tanzania.

Warriors coach Norman Mapeza — assisted by Highlanders boss Mkhuphali Masuku — has opted for a relatively young squad that does not feature Dynamos and Motor Action players, who play in the Mbada Diamonds Cup final on Sunday.

FC Platinum — who finished second in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League — have provided five players to the squad; defender Daniel Vheremu, midfielders Joel Ngodzo and Ntokozo Tshuma as well as strikers Charles Sibanda and Donald Ngoma.

Hwange striker Tongai Mangwendere has also been called up together with Gunners striker Leonard Fiyado and teammates Cliff Sekete, Qadr Amini and goalkeeper George Chigova.

Highlanders new-boy Honest Moyo is in with fellow midfielders Rahman Kutsanzira, Erick Mudzingwa and Under-23 goalkeeper Ariel Sibanda.

Warriors right-back Tapiwa Khumbuyani, DC Academy defender Tinashe Masika, Abbas Amidu from Black Mambas, James Jam from Blue Ribbon and Monomotapa goalkeeper Tapiwa Mafunga will make the trip.

According to the initial draw, Burundi will face Somalia in the opening game today. Eleven-time winners Uganda Cranes will then take on Zanzibar on the same day at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Defending champions Kilimanjaro Stars will open their title defence against Rwanda tomorrow. The hosts, who will be under the tutelage of Boniface Mkwasa and Jamhuri Kihwelu, will then face Burundi the following day.

Uganda, who are among the highly-rated teams in the tournament, will tackle Somalia on November 28 at Azam FC Stadium in Chamanzi, while two other matches, Sudan v Ethiopia and Kenya v Malawi, will take place at the National Stadium.

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