AFTER leading the Young Warriors to the All-Africa Games final in September, coach Kalisto Pasuwa has set his sights on qualifying for the Olympic Games as he will take charge of the Under-23 African Championship qualifier against Swaziland on the weekend of May 22-24 in Harare.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
First assistant coach Saul Chaminuka will travel to South Africa for the Cosafa Cup with another squad on the same weekend.
The Young Warriors head coach has named a 21-man provisional squad ahead of the qualifiers, keeping faith in the stars that helped Zimbabwe qualify for the All-Africa Games after beating highly-rated Cameroon 2-1 on aggregate.
He has also named an 18-man squad for the Cosafa tournament. Pasuwa will, however, join Chaminuka in South Africa for the Cosafa tournament alongside five Under-23 players Kelvin Moyo, Livingstone Genti, Tatenda Mudehwe, Prichard Mphelele and Carlos Rusere after the Swaziland encounter.
Said Pasuwa yesterday: “We have two teams and Saul will be going with the other team to the Cosafa Cup, while I will be in charge of the team that will face Swaziland. I am bit worried about the preparations because, for example, the Cosafa squad has not been together for some time and they should have started camp already. Even the team that is facing Swaziland should have started camp because our opponents camped a long time ago. I am just waiting to hear from Zifa on the camping dates.”
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said they were working hard to secure funding for preparations.
“At the moment we are working round the clock to ensure that all goes smoothly with regards to securing of players, camping and travelling,” Gwesela said.
Zifa has been forced to raise two teams for the two assignments due to a clash of dates.
The Under-23 side faces Swaziland in Harare — the same weekend Zimbabwe will clash against Namibia in their second match of the Cosafa Cup on May 21 in Moruleng, South Africa.
Zimbabwe are in Group A of the Cosafa championships alongside Namibia and the Seychelles. They get their campaign underway with a date against Mauritius on May 17 before facing off Namibia four days later.
The Young Warriors will then make the trip to Swaziland on the weekend of May 29-31 for the second leg of the qualifiers.
The winner of that encounter will face South Africa in the final qualifying round with winners from that encounter sealing a ticket for the finals to be held in Senegal after original hosts, the Democratic Republic of Congo, withdrew to focus on preparations for that country’s elections.
The winners in the qualifying round match against South Africa were supposed to meet Senegal in the last qualifying round, but as hosts, Senegal are no longer participating in the qualifiers.
The top three teams at the finals in Senegal will automatically qualify for the 2016 Olympics to be held in Brazil, while the fourth-placed team will be involved in a play-off against an Asian team.
U23 Championship Qualifier Squad:
T Mukuruva (Dynamos), T Mawaya (Hwange), B Moyo (Dynamos), R Pfumbidzai (Caps United), L Mhlanga (Chicken Inn), M Nyenye (Harare City), T Hadebe (Highlanders), L Chakoroma (Buffaloes), G Takwara (Tsholotsho), W Mutasa (FC Platinum), N Masuku (Highlanders), M Gaki (Triangle), C Rusere (Dynamos), M Sibanda (How Mine), J Kanono (Whawha), L Genti (Whawha), K Moyo (FC Platinum), W Musona (FC Platinum), T Chideu (Highlanders), T Mudehwe (FC Platinum), P Mphelele (Hwange)
G Chigova (SuperSport, SA), B Donovan (How Mine), T Munditi (Harare City), H Zvirekwi (Caps United), D Sibanda (Highlanders), J Jangano (Gunners), G Murwira (Dynamos), R Kawondera (Flame Lily), D Phiri (Chicken Inn), T Magorimbo (ZPC Kariba), R Manuvire (ZPC Kariba), R Chitiyo (Dynamos), T Chipunza (Triangle), E Chirambadare (Chicken Inn), T Chawapiwa (Harare City), E Rusike (Hwange)