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Rahman faces selection dilemna


COACH Rahman Gumbo and his assistants are facing a selection dilemma with the Warriors in a fierce battle for places in the squad ahead of the sink-or-swim 2013 African Cup of Nations second leg, final football qualifier against Angola in Luanda on Sunday.

Report by Tawanda Tafirenyika Sports Correspondent

Kirsty Coventry (standing left) shares a joke with the Warriors and their manager Nyika Chifamba (standing right) in their team bus yesterday

Assistant coach David “Yogi” Mandigora admitted yesterday that they were having headaches over selection of the squad to do duty in the Battle of Luanda.

He said the coming-in of some of the players who had not been part of the team had created stiff competition in the team.

Players like Edward Sadomba, Kingstone Nkatha, Cuthbert Malajila, Lincoln Zvasiya and goalkeepers Energy Murambadoro and Ephraim Mazarura joined the squad after being cleared of any wrongdoing in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal by the Zifa Ethics Committee.

Mandigora said:  “It’s a better headache. We have some new guys who have come in and this has brought competition into the team. Everyone wants to play. It’s good for the team.”

With each member of the Warriors promised a housing stand in one of Harare’s northern  suburbs in Pomona in addition to a $10 000 winning bonus each  if they qualify, the Warriors will naturally need less motivation from the coaches.

Gumbo’s men looked sharp during training with his attackers exhibiting a lot of verve and commitment. Even the injury-prone Takesure Chinyama, who had a subdued game in the first leg before he was pulled off, trained with the spirit of an ant as he tried to win the confidence of the coaches ahead of the big match.

With Kaizer Chiefs’ aggressive forward Kingstone Nkatha, Maritzburg United’s Cuthbert Malajila and talismanic forward Knowledge Musona all in terrific form, it remains to be seen how Gumbo will juggle his strike force.

However, Gumbo appears to have no problems on the attacking wings where he will likely deploy Khama Billiat, the hero in the first leg, and Sadomba, who plays for Sudanese side Al-Hilal, on the right.

Vusa Nyoni also looked determined to retain his position on the left side of the midfield. Dynamos midfielder Denver Mukamba is one of the players vying for a place in that department.

In defensive midfield, Tinashe “Father” Nengomasha, who also missed the first leg, should get the nod with Sweden-based Archie Gutu likely to be thrust in central attack.

Big defender Carlington Nyadombo also appeared to have won the confidence of the coaches and could partner skipper Esrom Nyandoro at the heart of the defence with Onsimor Bhasera sure to keep his leftback position while Noel Kaseke and Oscar Machapa appear to be battling for the rightback position.

Gumbo has 31 players in the team and is expected to trim the squad before departure tomorrow.

Zimbabwe take a 3-1 first leg lead into the second leg of their final qualifier needing to avoid defeat to make it to the Nations Cup finals to be hosted by South Africa in January next year.

Olympic medallist Kirsty Coventry paid a courtesy call on the team during their morning training session.

Asiagate report out next week

THE much-awaited final report into suspected match-fixing scandal by the national team in Asia will be made public on Tuesday and not today as announced by the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) earlier this week.

The move, according to our sources, has been done to allow the senior national soccer team to focus on the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final qualifier second leg match against Angola in Luanda on Sunday.

In the scandal, which is widely known as Asiagate, over 100 players were fingered, but some of them have since been absolved of any wrongdoing. The latest players cleared by the Ethics Committee were Energy Murambadoro, Justice Majabvi, Lincoln Zvasiya, Edward Sadomba, Ephraim Mazarura, Kingstone Nkhata and Cuthbert Malajila.

Zvasiya, Murambadoro, Malajila, Sadomba, Mazarura and Nkhata are in camp with the Warriors who are expected to jet out of the country tomorrow night for the crunch match in Luanda carrying a 3-1 lead.—Sports Reporter

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