Normalcy returned to the Warriors camp yesterday after most of the players called up to prepare for the Cosafa Cup pitched up at the team’s training session ahead of the trip to South Africa for the regional football tournament that starts on Sunday.
The tournament runs from May 17 – 30.
Zimbabwe are in Group A and will kick off their campaign with a match against Mauritius on Sunday before facing Namibia four days later. Their last group match is against the Seychelles.
However, preparations for the trip had been thrown into jeopardy after only a handful of players reported for camp on Tuesday.
Only 10 players pitched up at Rufaro Stadium on the opening day of the session, but the situation improved yesterday when eight more, including South Africa-based George Chigova, attended yesterday’s training session at Gwanzura Stadium.
Two other players, Jomo Cosmos’ Charlton Shumba and FC Platinum’s Kelvin Moyo, who had also been called for camp, were still absent though and coach Kalisto Pasuwa yesterday said the duo have been scratched off the travelling list.
“I spoke to Shumba and he told me that his club is yet to receive an invitation letter from Zifa so he said he cannot come without his club’s blessing. The Zifa secretariat is saying they sent the letter so I don’t know where the confusion is. His club is playing promotional play-offs starting on Sunday and he is one of the main players there so it’s very difficult to convince them to release him. In as much as we would have wanted to have a look at him, there is not much we can do. We have to move on and look for a replacement,” Pasuwa said.
The highly-rated Mashumba finished the season second on the scoring charts with 18 goals On Moyo, Pasuwa said: “His club has said they can’t release him because they are short of defenders. Apparently, their other defender Aaron Katebe has also been called up by Zambia for this tournament.”
Pasuwa was expected to name replacements last night ahead of the team’s departure tomorrow.
The 18 players held a morning training session at Gwanzura before playing FC Platinum in a preparatory match in the afternoon.
Warriors assistant Saul Chaminuka will take charge of the team at the tournament while Pasuwa will remain behind to prepare the Young Warriors team that will face Swaziland in an African Championships qualifier next weekend.
George Chigova, Bernard Donovan, Tatenda Munditi, Douglas Sibanda, Raphael Kawondera, Justice Jangano, Carlos Rusere, Thomas Magorimbo, Danny Phiri, Livingstone Genti, Tichaona Chipunza, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Raphael Manuvire, Moses Demera, Marshall Mudewe, Talent Chawapiwa, Evans Rusike, Pritchard Mphelele.