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Seven in camp

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ONLY seven players were in the Warriors camp yesterday as the national football team aborted the first day of training ahead of the international friendly match against Mozambique set for Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.

FORTUNE MBELE,SPORTS REPORTER

Players from other centres were only expected in the city in the evening, leaving coach Ian Gorowa with only two days of training.

Their opponents, Mozambique, also rescheduled their travel arrangements and will only be arriving in Bulawayo this afternoon.

The national team was supposed to assemble at the Zifa offices on Wednesday evening before being taken to their hotel. However, players coming from Harare, including Gorowa and his assistants Kalisto Pasuwa and Mkhuphali “Mr Cooper” Masuku, had not arrived in the city by yesterday afternoon.

Team manager Sharif Mussa said he was not with the team while the coaches’ mobile phones went unanswered.

“Am actually out of town. Am not with the team,” Mussa said yesterday morning.

Only seven players from Bulawayo — Chicken Inn’s trio of Felix Chindungwe, Danny “Deco” Phiri and Kudakwashe Mahachi, Highlanders’ Munyaradzi Diya, Bruce Kangwa and Milton Ncube and Bantu Rovers’ Nqobizitha Masuku — pitched up at the Bulawayo Zifa offices at 10am and waited in a bus outside for close to two hours before they filed out into town.

The players said the only communication they had received was that they had to be at the Zifa offices by 10am after which there was no further communication except that which had gathered from their teammates who were on their way from Harare, who said they had only left the capital after 11am by road.

Hwange midfielder Nkosana Siwela is not joining camp as he is in plaster after he was injured in Chipangano’s last league match against Motor Action at the Colliery while Gerald Ndlovu had also not arrived.

The whereabouts of Ali Sadiki from FC Platinum, Pascal Manhanga and Misheck Mburayi of Triangle and Themba Ndlovu of Buffaloes could not be established while How Mine’s Warren Dube and Simba Sithole were also not in Bulawayo.

A Zifa official in Bulawayo confirmed that the Harare contingent had not arrived by Wednesday as scheduled and said they would be in Bulawayo in the morning and the Warriors’ itinerary would be announced later.

The football mother body’s communications manager Xolisani Gwesela, who had confirmed the Warriors were assembling in Bulawayo on Wednesday, downplayed the disarray and said travel arrangements had been rescheduled.

“I am reliably informed by the technical team that training will start tomorrow (today) morning at either Barbourfields Stadium or White City. They are resting today. There has just been a change in travelling arrangements and everything has been sorted out. Those players in Bulawayo are waiting for the rest of the team so that they are taken to their hotel,” Gwesela said.

On Wednesday, assistant coach Pasuwa had said they would be leaving the capital at 2pm, but there were logistical issues being dealt with and they would start training yesterday morning.

The friendly match against the Mambas of Mozambique is being used as part of the Warriors’ preparations for the African Nations Championships (Chan) to be hosted by South Africa next month.

The players travelling from Harare are Partson Jaure, Simba Sithole, George Chigova, Wonder Kapinda, Lot Chiwunga and Hardlife Zvirekwi.

The Warriors have shifted base to Bulawayo for the next couple of matches as coach Gorowa is against the continued use of the artificial turf at Rufaro, which has been run down and outlived its lifespan.

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