THE Warriors will leave for Tanzania today with an injury free squad for Sunday’s 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations first leg, first round qualifier against the Taifa Stars set for the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Having been pegged back by the withdrawal of the Kaizer Chiefs duo of Kingstone Nkhatha and Willard Katsande and Ajax Cape Town’s Simba Sithole, coach Ian Gorowa will name his final 18 this morning after the last practice session ahead of departure.
The Warriors had two training sessions yesterday and played Dynamos in the afternoon with team manager Sharif Mussa reporting a clean bill of health.
The Warriors beat Dynamos 2-1 with Kuda Musharu and Pascal Manhanga on target.
“We will drop one player from the 19 that we have. There are no injuries as of today [yesterday],” Mussa said.
Last night, Zifa president Cuthbert Dube addressed the Warriors at a brief send off ceremony at their camp and implored for more support for the national team.
“A lot of resources are needed for the Afcon 2015 qualifiers and I implore the corporate world and the Government to rally behind the Warriors. A win is our biggest pre-occupation now as you embark on this trip. Go and play like the Warriors,” Dube said in his speech.
He added: “The Warriors did well at the Chan finals in South Africa where they did Zimbabwe and the region proud by reaching the semi-finals and we want you to continue from where you left off.”
The Warriors will leave at midday today after a one hour training session at Gateway High School.
FC Platinum forward Marshall Mudehwe and Harare City’s Talent Chawapiwa are the two rookies in the national team in camp and one of them could miss out. Nqobizitha Masuku and Sidney Linyama have also been dropped owing to injuries.
Three goalkeepers Washington Arubi, George Chigova and Munyaradzi Diya will compete for the number one spot while the duo of Hardlife Zvirekwi and Milton Ncube are almost assured of places on the right and left wing back respectively.
Being an away game, Gorowa could choose a double anchor featuring Danny Phiri and Stephen Alimenda, who has revived his romance with the Warriors after an impressive show in Dynamos colours this season.
Kuda Mahachi and Manhanga could operate from the wings leaving the goalscoring duties to Tendai Ndoro and Cuthbert Malajila.
With Sithole having been ruled out, Musharu, who shone for How Mine in the Caf Confederation Cup with six goals, is a trusted gun-slinger who can provide more firepower coming from the bench.
The Warriors are bidding to book a ticket to the continent’s biggest soccer showcase for the first time since 2006 when they took part in the finals in Egypt.
Should the Warriors win against Tanzania, they will face the winner between Mozambique and South Sudan and if they advance, they will join neighbours Zambia, Niger and Cape Verde Islands in Group F for the last lap.
From the Tanzanian camp, midfielder Mwinyi Kazimoto, who features for Qatar’s Al Markhiya, arrived in Dar es Salaam on Monday to join the Taifa Stars camp as new coach Mart Nooij seeks a winning start in a competitive match at the helm of the East Africans.
Tanzania, who have not qualified for the Afcon finals since 1980, will miss the services of TP Mazembe duo of Mbwana Samata and Thomas Ulimwengu who will be playing in the Caf Champions League this weekend and could not be secured as the Afcon second round matches do not fall under the Fifa-sanctioned games.
The Tanzanian media has been complaining that the camp is being held in a town called Tukuyu, whose climate conditions are different from that of Dar es Salaam.
The Tanzanian Football Federation wanted the match against the Warriors to be staged at the Sokoine Stadium in Mbeya but the venue was deemed unfit to host the game by Caf.
Goalkeepers: W Arubi, G Chigova, M Diya
Defenders: H Zvirekwi, E Chipeta, P Jaure, M Ncube, R Pfumbidzai
Midfielders: D Phiri, P Manhanga, S Alimenda, P Moyo, M Mudewe
STRIKERS: K Mahachi, T Ndoro, C Malajila, W Kapinda, K Musharu