Benjani pledges support for Warriors


Former Zimbabwe football team captain Benjani Mwaruwari has pledged his support to the Warriors as the nation seeks to make only their third appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations finals next year.

The Warriors started training yesterday ahead of their expected departure for Burundi for a 2013 qualifier, which takes place next Wednesday.

Mwaruwari, who arrived in the country on Monday, met with Zifa president Cuthbert Dube and chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze yesterday to seek clearance from the soccer mother body for him to organise a testimonial match following his retirement from international football.

He was in the company of Norman Mapezas younger brother Kenny.The England-based striker, who is back at struggling Championship division side Portsmouth, was scheduled to address a Press conference after the meeting with Dube, but he postponed it to today.

Mwaruwari was granted his wish by the Zifa boss who said it was only befitting for Mwaruwari, who succeeded Zimbabwes most capped player Peter Ndlovu as the Warriors captain, to be accorded a testimonial.

Ndlovu is now the Under-23 coach and by Zifa technical arrangements, he becomes the senior national team assistant coach.

The meeting was held at Mwaruwaris request. It was his own initiative to arrange a testimonial match, said Dube.

He was seeking clearance from Zifa and we gave him the blessing. We did not hesitate to clear him. It will be held in May. He has pledged to assist the Warriors in any possible way.

After having captained his country for so many years and with such an illustrious career, very few would want to go and give back to the country where they came from. Its a thank you kind of thing for him and we have already set up a committee to arrange the logistics for the match.

Its a small committee and as Zifa we are pleased with this initiative. He appreciates where he came from. We will do the assistance. It will be befitting for him to be ambassador of football.

Zifa was supposed to be pro-active to initiate this, but this is Mwaruwaris initiative and we will also look at some of our best players who have done well for their country and assist them, Dube said.

Norman Mapezas brother Kenny will be one of the committee members tasked with arranging the testimonial match scheduled for May.

Mwaruwari quit after the Warriors drew 0-0 against Cape Verde Islands in October 2010 in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Besides the testimonial issue, he is expected to outline his future plans this morning.