Five-aside team for World Cup qualifiers

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The Zimbabwe Futsal Association (ZFA) has called into camp a provisional squad ahead of the Futsal (five-aside) World Cup qualifier against Sudan early next month.

Zimbabwe play host to the continent’s north-east nation on the first weekend of April with the reverse fixture in Sudan two weeks later. The match will be played at Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex.

Should Zimbabwe win this contest, they will meet neighbours South Africa in the two-legged second round fixture on the first weekend of May. If they can negotiate their way past their neighbours, Zimbabwe will enter the third and final round where a winner between Cameroon and Libya will be waiting.

With no nation willing to host the African Futsal Championships, Caf has decided to organise the qualifiers in a knockout format. Three teams that will win third round matches will automatically qualify for the World Cup finals to be staged in Thailand from November 2-18.

ZFA national chairperson Joseph Mabhonzo yesterday said a provisional squad was already in camp for the Sudan match.

“We have two provisional squads that started camp some few days ago. One team is camped here in Harare and the other one is in Bulawayo. Those squads will be trimmed next week into one team which will be our national team,” he said.

The Southern Region camp is headed by former Warriors striker Agent Sawu, assisted by Philani Banda, while the Northern Region is headed by Lloyd Chigova.

Zimbabwe last participated in the inaugural Futsal World Cup in 1989 in Netherlands as a guest nation, but crashed out in the first round. The country then came close in qualifying for the World Cup in 1996, but narrowly lost the ticket after finishing third at the African Championships held in Egypt.