HomeSportSoccerStrong, balanced squad leaves for Luanda

Strong, balanced squad leaves for Luanda


WARRIORS coach Rahman Gumbo was last night expected to name a strong and balanced squad after reducing his working group to 18 men yesterday for the decisive 2013 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) second leg football qualifier against Angola at the November 11 Stadium in Luanda tomorrow.

Report by Tawanda Tafirenyika, Sports Correspondent

The team leaves this morning at 6am, accompanied by a number of supporters aboard a chartered flight.

At the time of going to press late last night, Gumbo and his technical team were still holed up in a meeting to decide on the 12 to drop for the trip.

With a pool of 30 players in camp following the inclusion of players who were given the all clear by the Independent Ethics Committee recently after they had been suspended over match-fixing allegations, Gumbo and his assistants had challenges in coming up with the final team to do duty in Angola as players had been fighting fiercely for places in the team.

But the veteran coach, who has experience in African football as a player and having also coached in Malawi and Botswana where he won league titles, appeared to pick the right men who can represent the country with both pride and distinction.

Swaziland-based goalkeeper Ephraim Mazarura and Highlanders shot stopper Arial Sibanda were set to make the cut with big goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro, Marlon Jani and George Chigova being dropped.

Murambadoro, though with experience in international football, is still clubless and looks overweight as he has not been playing competitive football since he was released by South African Premiership side B0idvest Wits in August.

This means it will be a toss-up between Mazarura and Sibanda for the man to guard the goal.

Germany-based Knowledge Musona, who did not play a part in the first leg owing to injury, is set to play on the right side of the midfield with Khama Billiart on the left side.

According to yesterday’s last training session, Cuthbert Malajila is expected to start as a lone striker with Takesure Chinyama and Kingstone Nkatha likely to come from the bench.

Edward Sadomba should provide cover on the wing.

In defensive midfield, Gumbo is likely to deploy Tinashe Nengomasha and Vusa Nyoni with Archford Gutu set to play in central midfield.

Stand-in skipper Esrom Nyandoro will partner Carlington Nyadombo at the heart of the defence with Noel Kaseke on the right-back position while Onisimor Bhasera is sure to retain his left-back position.
Gumbo said he was happy with the attitude of the players since they started training on Tuesday.

“The attitude of the players has been positive. They are really prepared for this match from the discussions I have had with them.
“There was stiff competition and it has been difficult to pick the final team. It’s sad that I have to leave out some of the guys.

That’s the name of the game. I was not looking at their faces. It’s based on merit. I was looking at their input since we started training.

“I have told the players they should do anything to win the game. They can’t afford to be complacent because they know what the nation expects from them. They are prepared for this match,” said Gumbo after the team’s afternoon’s training session yesterday.

The team is expected to depart for Angola this morning on a chartered plane.

Zimbabwe carry a 3-1 lead from the first leg and need at least a draw to seal their place at the Afcon finals to be staged in South Africa next year.

Should the Warriors qualify, it will be their third appearance at the biennial soccer showcase.

Probable 18:   E Mazarura,  A Sibanda,  N Kaseke, O Bhasera, E Nyandoro, C Nyadombo, V Nyoni, O Machapa, T Nengomasha, A Gutu,   K Billiat, T Chinyama, D Mukamba, K Musona,  C Malajila, E Sadomba, K Nkatha, L Zvasiya

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