Mahachi set for Swazi showdown

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Kuda Mahachi training with his AS Monaco teammates at the La Turbie training centre on Monday

KALISTO Pasuwa is likely to have at least one foreign-based player as his Under-23 squad faces Swaziland in an African Championship qualifier at Rufaro Stadium in Harare on Sunday with reports suggesting Mamelodi Sundowns winger Kuda Mahachi will be available for the showdown.

BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA

However, Pasuwa will be without Netherlands-based Marvellous Nakamba who plays for Vitesse after the midfielder indicated he would not be available due to club commitments.

The Young Warriors coach, who had called up three foreign-based players for the Swaziland showdown, however, remains hopeful of securing the services of England-based Macauley Bonne who plays for Colchester United.

Bonne has, according to Pasuwa, indicated he was willing to come and play on Sunday. However, his availability was subject to Zifa managing to buy air tickets for the player. The player last featured in an international friendly match against Morocco in December last year.

“I spoke to Kuda Mahachi yesterday (Sunday) and he assured me he would come in today (yesterday). I also spoke to Bonne on WhatsApp and he is willing to come and play, but I am not sure about the issue of the air ticket. I will find out from Zifa what they are doing about it, but Marvellous Nakamba has indicated he will not be available because of club commitments,” Pasuwa said.

Vitesse, who finished in fifth position on the league table with 58 points, will be involved in the Uefa Europa League play-offs against Feyenoord who finished fourth with 59 points, PEC Zwolle (sixth with 53 points) and Heerenveen (seventh position with 50 points).

The Warriors coach also revealed he was worried, saying he could face the same challenges he faced in the All-Africa Games qualifiers as clubs were reluctant to release players on the grounds that the match was not on the Fifa calendar for international matches.

“I think we are going to face challenges again in securing players because I have been told there are Premier Soccer League games again on Saturday. I have been trying to get in touch with some local players, but some of them are saying they have not received letters of invitation, but I have checked with Zifa and they did send the letters. So I am just waiting and will know by tonight (last night) the players who will have joined camp and those that have not done so,” Pasuwa added.

Ronald Pfumbidzai is on trials in Sweden and his availability is not yet confirmed as he had not responded to messages sent to him yesterday, while Teenage Hadebe is struggling with an injury.

Should the Young Warriors beat Swaziland, they will meet South Africa in the final qualifying round. The winners from that encounter will seal 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 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.

Squad: T Mukuruva, T Mawaya, B Moyo, R Pfumbidzai, L Mhlanga, M Nyenye, T Hadebe, L Chakoroma, G Takwara, W Mutasa, N Masuku, M Gaki, M Sibanda, J Kanono, K Moyo, W Musona, T Chideu, T Kadewera, K Mahachi, M Bonne