THE Warriors will regroup this afternoon for the final journey towards the 2014 Orange African Nations Championships (Chan) football finals which burst into life in South Africa on January 11.
REPORT BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The national team broke camp on December 31 with coach Ian Gorowa also travelling to South Africa for a short break.
Team manager Shariff Mussa said the team would resume their preparations for the Chan tournament this afternoon.
“The team will regroup tomorrow (today) afternoon. We have already submitted our 23-man squad to Caf,” said Mussa.
The Warriors are expected to leave for South Africa on January 6 where they are scheduled to take on Gabon in an international friendly the following day at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg before proceeding to their base in Cape Town.
The hosts will face off with Mozambique in a Group A game which will be preceded by the official opening ceremony, while Gorowa’s men will open their campaign at the continental tourney with a clash against the Atlas Lions of Morocco the following day.
The Warriors will then wind up their group assignments with fixtures against Uganda on January 16 and then Burkina Faso on January 20.
The Warriors gaffer, who had an enlarged 27-member squad in camp, wielded the axe on the Black Rhinos duo of striker Lot Chiwunga and midfielder Wonder Kapinda.
Harare City goalkeeper Maxwell Nyamupangedengu and Shabanie Mine’s Frankson Bushire were also dropped from the squad which appears balanced with a mixture of youth and experience.
Rising midfielder Pascal Manhanga of Triangle, who was one of the top performers for the Chiredzi outfit in the 2013 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season, also made the cut while the majority of the players have been regulars in the team and played a part in the Chan and 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Meanwhile, Uganda Cranes coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic has said he trusts his squad will do well during the Chan finals.
The coach said the squad of 23 players that he selected early this week had worked hard and they would make the country proud.
In an interview with MTNFootball.com, the Serb said he believed his players had what it takes to get results at the tournament in South Africa.
“We still have a few days to polish up, but those selected know what is expected of them and they will hold the national flag high,” beamed the coach.
Micho said although some of the players would be making their debuts in a big tournament, the likes of Hassan Wasswa Mawanda and goalkeeper Benjamin Ochan who have featured in South African teams before would carry the team.
Although Micho has said Morocco would be the most difficult team because of the vast exposure of their players, he added that they must also be very cautious against the other two teams in the group.
“Our mission is to first make it through the group stage, then we start planning for the knock-out stage,” he added.
In the 2011 event held in Khartoum, Sudan, the Cranes, who were due to play Mauritania in a friendly last night, failed to make it out of the group stage.
Warriors Final Squad
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Dynamos), Tafadzwa Dube (Caps United), Munyaradzi Diya (Highlanders)
Defenders: Oscar Machapa (Dynamos), Hardlife Zvirekwi (Caps United), Augustine Mbara (Dynamos), Milton Ncube (Highlanders), Felix Chindungwe (Chicken Inn), Themba Ndlovu (Dynamos), Eric Chipeta (Hwange), Partson Jaure (Dynamos)
Midfielders: Masimba Mambare (Highlanders), Tawanda Muparati (Dynamos), Danny Phiri (Chicken Inn), Pascal Manhanga (Triangle), Charles Sibanda (FC Platinum), Kudakwashe Mahachi (Chicken Inn), Ali Sadiki, (FC Platinum), Peter Moyo (Highlanders), Donald Ngoma (FC Platinum)
Strikers: Simba Sithole (How Mine), Nelson Maziwisa (FC Platinum), Simba Sithole (Dynamos)