THE Warriors were forced to cancel the opening day of their preparations for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Mozambique after only four players turned up due to mid-week Castle Lager Premier Soccer League fixtures.
REPORT BY SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Eight fixtures will be played today and tomorrow.
Coach Ian Gorowa should have a full house tomorrow with Highlanders providing Munyaradzi Diya, Bruce Kangwa, Peter Moyo, Masimba Mambare and Milton Ncube while Dynamos will release George Chigova, Tawanda Muparati with Hwange providing Eric Chipeta.
FC Platinum will release Nelson Maziwisa and Donald Ngoma while Sadiki is already in camp. Charles Sibanda, who is suspended for his team’s match against Hwange, is also expected in camp tonight.
Kuda Mahachi will join camp from Mutare where his side Chicken Inn is playing Buffaloes today while tomorrow evening, the Caps United pair of Tafadzwa Dube and Dominic Chungwa will also be available.
Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande is the only foreign-based player in the squad dominated by home-based players who qualified for the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament.
Gorowa’s preparations for the weekend assignment suffered a major blow yesterday after only Chicken Inn duo of Felix Chindungwe and Danny Phiri, Blessing Chimwamuchere of Triangle and FC Platinum’s Ali Sadiki turned up at Gwanzura Stadium for the morning training session.
This forced the cancellation of the training programme. However, team manager Patrick Mutesva maintained training would start this morning. He said they were expecting players to report for camp last night
“This is a poor turn-out. It’s so disappointing. Out of 23 players called up, I only have four players here. I have been trying to get hold of most of the players, but their numbers are not reachable.
“There is this problem with the midweek fixtures, but we are saying all players called up for national duty have to report for camp. If the clubs don’t release the players they will be doing so without the blessing of Zifa.
“We have now cancelled the afternoon training session because players have still not reported for camp, but we should now train tomorrow morning (today),” said Mutesva.
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said last night: “We struck a deal with the Premier Soccer League and players that are free from club duty will join camp while others that are playing will be in as soon as they finish their league matches. We want a win-win situation here and we have a responsibility to service all football stakeholders, PSL included.”
PSL chief executive Kennedy Ndebele said all mid-week fixtures will go ahead as planned. “All fixtures will go ahead as per agreement.”