OSCAR Machapa was a surprise inclusion in the Warriors squad that regrouped yesterday ahead of their rescheduled African Nations Championships (Chan) final qualifier, first leg against Zambia set for Rufaro Stadium tomorrow.
REPORT BY HENRY MHARA
Warriors coach Ian Gorowa said he included the new Dynamos right-back as cover for left-back Augustine Mbara who has been ruled out of the match through injury.
Also out of this tie is How Mine striker Simba Sithole who is undergoing trials with South African club SuperSport United.
Mbara picked the injury playing for Dynamos in a league match against Motor Action on Thursday, leaving Gorowa with only one natural left-back Blessing Chimwamuchere in camp. Gorowa had initially called Bruce Kangwa who could have been a more suitable alternative for Mbara, but the Highlanders left-back, who was involved in his side’s league match in Harare on Thursday, had already left the capital for Bulawayo.
But it was the inclusion of Machapa who made his Dynamos debut three days ago, which should come a surprise to many.
Machapa joined the league champions from Absa Premiership side Moroka Swallows.
“Oscar is a versatile player and his experience is very valid. We need his experience in our squad and I look at him as one player who can offer that and a lot more,” explained Gorowa.
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Tomorrow’s match should have been played last Sunday, but had to be deferred after match officials who were supposed to take charge of the match failed to pitch up after missing their connecting flights in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Cameroonians only arrived in the country on Tuesday. Following the postponement of the match, all the Warriors players were released from camp to take part in their respective clubs’ midweek league matches.
Zambia on the other hand immediately flew out to France where they had a friendly match against Senegal on Wednesday.
The Warriors squad regrouped on Thursday evening and had their training session at Gwanzura Stadium. Chipolopolo were expected to touch down at the Harare International Airport yesterday evening.
At yesterday’s training session, Gorowa rested most of the players who completed their midweek league matches while those who were not involved or played for less than 90 minutes for their clubs took part in the workout which lasted over two hours.
Most of that time was spent on set-pieces and shooting.
Striker Nelson Maziwisa was not part of the crew at Gwanzura yesterday, but Gorowa confirmed that the FC Platinum man was in Harare and was set to link up with the rest of the squad at Zifa Village where the team is staying.
Machapa, who only received the news of his call-up this morning, arrived at the training venue with a few minutes remaining.
Goalkeeper George Chigova who was called into camp on the eve of last week’s rescheduled match as a precautionary measure for Munyaradzi Diya who had picked an injury, trained with the team yesterday and is also fighting for a place in the final 18 which should be announced today.
Gorowa believes he has a good squad which can beat Zambia.
“We have to give it a go, we want to win this match and I think the players know that. I believe my players are way better than the Zambians and they should win this match,” said Gorowa.
The former Dynamos and Black Rhinos striker indicated that he would make some changes to the team that played Mauritius at home in the last round of the qualifiers which ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Warriors progressed to this round on a 4-1 aggregate score.
Midfielders Ali Sadiki and Tawanda Muparati as well as striker Tendai Ndoro did exceptionally well when they were introduced against the Islanders and should be favourites to start in tomorrow’s match. Probable line-up T Dube, P Jaure, E Chipeta, H Zvirekwi, B Chimwamuchere, D Chafa, M Mambare, P Moyo, T Muparati, A Sadiki, N Maziwisa, T Ndoro.