ZIMBABWE Under-23 soccer team left-back Ronald Pfumbidzai joined camp yesterday morning as the Young Warriors stepped up preparations for the decisive second leg of the African Championships qualifier against Swaziland on Sunday.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The Caps United player missed the drawn first leg tie in Harare last Sunday as he was still in Denmark where he has been on trials with Hobro IK in the past three weeks. He is awaiting feedback from the club.
However, the Young Warriors received a major boost after he showed up at the training session at Hellenics Sports Club yesterday morning.
South African Premiership giants Mamelodi Sundowns forward Kuda Mahachi, who had been expected to join camp as well after missing the first leg as he was attending to his sick child, has, however, been ruled out of the clash.
The team is expected to leave for Swaziland today, but have not been advised if they are travelling by road or air as the top Zifa hierarchy Cuthbert Dube and chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze are in Zurich, Switzerland for the Fifa congress.
Team manager Shariff Mussa confirmed the development. “Pfumbidzai arrived this morning (yesterday) and is already training. As for Mahachi, he won’t be joining camp again. He is still attending to his sick child and has been excused on compassionate grounds. We are not sure yet when the team will be leaving. We are still waiting to be advised by Zifa. They are negotiating with the Sports ministry and the Sports and Recreation Commission. We not sure whether we are going by road or by air,” said Mussa.
Young Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa will, however, be without the Harare City pair of forward Tinotenda Kadewera and Munyaradzi Diro Nyenye after the club requested that they be released to fulfill their league match against Chapungu this afternoon.
Kadewera is one of the most intelligent forwards who has the guts to take on defenders in the Young Warriors set up and Pasuwa said he had been banking on the talented player, but had to compromise because Harare City were also desperately in need of his services.
“Kadewera is one player who can conjure up something special in a match and I would have loved to have him for this particular clash but I had to compromise after Taurai Mangwiro requested the release of the two players. But with Blessing Moyo and Pfumbidzai now available, we don’t have problems in our wing backs,” said Pasuwa.
Moyo did not also take part in the first leg alongside goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva as Dynamos held onto the player. They however, eventually released them this time around as Pasuwa seeks to overcome Swaziland who gave them a scare with their defensive ability which earned them a 0-0 draw at Rufaro last Sunday.
Hwange’s Pritchard Mpelele and FC Platinum’s Marshall Mudehwe who also missed the first leg while in South Africa for the Cosafa Cup tournament are also in camp.
In the event Zimbabwe beat Swaziland they will face South Africa in the final qualifying round with winners from that encounter, booking a ticket to the finals in Senegal in November, from which the top-three finishers at that tournament will automatically qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.