WARRIORS head coach Klaus Dieter Pagels says he faces a challenge to pick his final 18-man squad for the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Egypt at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.
REPORT BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The German coach has a squad of 24 players fighting to make the cut for the showdown with the seven-time African champions.
The Zimbabwe coach had initially named a squad of 25 players, but SuperSport United striker Simba Sithole withdrew just before the team went into camp because of a recurrent knee injury.
But Pagels said after the morning training session at the match venue yesterday- he was impressed by the way his charges applied themselves at training.
He said he observed that all the players in camp were engaging and showed enthusiasm to play on Sunday.
He admitted it would not be easy for him and his assistants Lloyd Mutasa, Peter Ndlovu and goalkeeper’s coach Nkululeko Dhlamini to come up with the final squad.
“All of them are ready to fight for a place in the squad,” Pagels said. “You know we have to come up with an 18-man squad, they know about this. In the morning, we had a session with high intensity. It will not be easy to pick the final 18-man squad, but for me everyone deserves to be in the team.
“Although it will not be easy, it is the job of the coach to come up with the final squad. And you can hammer me after that. It doesn’t hurt me really,” the German said jokingly.
Pagels said he would only name his squad tomorrow, a day before the crunch tie.
He also said he would not tinker much with the squad that did duty in Egypt in the first leg and revealed he would throw in three or four players who did not make the trip to Alexandria.
The Warriors coach also said he was happy they had more time with the boys after they reported for camp on Monday night.
He, however, said they were supposed to play a friendly match against Swaziland before the clash against Egypt, but it failed to materialise.
“We were supposed to play a friendly match against Swaziland before this game, but they said they didn’t have the money to come here,”
Morale in the team was also boosted as Knowledge Musona, Cuthbert Malajila and Devon Chafa, who had picked some knocks in the practice session against Monomotapa on Wednesday, trained with the rest of the team yesterday.