THE Warriors received a major boost yesterday ahead of their trip to South Africa for the Cosafa Cup after midfielder Ronald Chitiyo joined the team’s morning training session at Gwanzura Stadium in Harare.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The team leaves for South Africa this morning at 7am.
Chitiyo has been in top form for Dynamos this season and if he could transfer his club form to the country, the Warriors could go all the way to the final of the regional tournament.
The Dynamos midfielder is one of the few experienced players taking part in the tournament having been drafted in as replacement for Jomo Cosmos forward Charles Mashumba, who is no longer available as his club will be involved in promotional play-offs.
Chitiyo was part of the last tournament held in Zambia where Zimbabwe finished as runners-up to the hosts.
“It’s a plus for us to have someone like him,” head coach Kalisto Pasuwa after training said.
“You need a player like him in games like this. He is one player whom you know can produce something special even when things are not going your way. He is one of the experienced players we have in the team.”
The Warriors coach revealed they had roped in former Pretoria University defender Patson Jaure into the team to bring stability at the back.
“We could not manage to get Kelvin Moyo. I was with the FC Platinum coach yesterday (Wednesday) and it appeared he wanted to use the player so we brought in Jaure. We need at least one experienced centre back because from the centre backs we have, they lack experience,” Pasuwa said.
“We needed more time with the players. You find we have just met with the players and it takes a little bit of time for them to understand what you expect from them. It’s a challenge because I find myself having to work with the defence, strikers and the midfielders at about the same time. We have a lot to do.”
The Warriors have five experienced players in the team — Chitiyo, Jaure, captain Danny Phiri, George Chigova who plays for SuperSport United and Hardlife Zvirekwi. They played at the last Cosafa tournament and were part of the Chan squad that reached the semi-finals in South Africa.
There are three Under-23 players who were part of the squad that qualified Zimbabwe to the All-Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville in September — Hwange’s Pritchard Mpelele, Talent Chawapiwa and Livingstone Genti.
Zimbabwe are in Group A of the Cosafa championships alongside Mauritius, Namibia and the Seychelles.
They get their campaign underway with a date against Mauritius on Sunday before facing Namibia four days later.
Saul Chaminuka, who is assistant to Pasuwa, will take charge of the team at the tournament in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Pasuwa, who was supposed to travel to South Africa after taking charge of the Under-23 match against Swaziland in Harare in an African Championship qualifier, will no longer travel following a revision of the fixtures for the championships.
Zimbabwe had initially been scheduled to play against Swaziland on May 24 and then travel to Swaziland two weeks later for the return leg.
However, Pasuwa said yesterday they had received communication from the Confederation of African Football that the fixtures had been revised and Zimbabwe were now playing the second leg the immediate weekend after the first leg (May 30 and 31).