YOUNG Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa has named a strong squad for the Under-23 Championship final qualifier, first leg against South Africa next weekend, at Rufaro rewarding Highlanders star Knox Mutizwa for impressive performances for the Bulawayo side.
BY WELLINGTON TONI
The second leg is on August 2.
Mutizwa stole the show at Rufaro Stadium two weeks when he scored a double in his team’s 3-2 loss to Dynamos before scoring an equaliser against Triangle in the 1-1 draw at Barbourfields Stadium last Sunday.
Team manager Sharif Mussa said all the players were expected to assemble in Harare by lunchtime while they are keeping their fingers crossed for five others players who are outside the country for various reasons. Vitesse youngster Marvelous Nakamba has been called up together with Ronald Pfumbidzai, who is expected to leave this weekend for his new life at Hobro in Denmark.
The FC Platinum pair of Walter Musona and Wisdom Mutasa are in Slovakia where they are undergoing trials with FC Senica.
Mamelodi Sundowns’ Kuda Mahachi was also called up although his side started pre-season training last week and are set for a trip to Swaziland.
“I am still waiting confirmation on Nakamba, Wisdom, Walter and Pfumbidzai. I have spoken to them and they could come on Monday night or Tuesday night. All others are supposed to be in Monday lunchtime,” Mussa said yesterday.
While Pasuwa is banking on his foreign contingent finally appearing for the Young Warriors, he has kept faith in the team that qualified Zimbabwe to the Africa Games after knocking out Cameroon.
These players include Thomas Chideu, who has impressed at trials with South Africa’s Ajax Cape Town and is likely to sign a deal, goalkeepers Tatenda Mukuruva and Donovan Bernard. Teenage Hadebe, Nqobizitha Masuku, Lawrence Mhlanga, Jimmy Kanono, Farai Madhananga and Carlos Rusere have also made the team.
To get through to the final qualifying round, the Young Warriors drew 2-2 away to Swaziland after a goalless home draw to advance on the away goals rule.
The winner of the South Africa/Zimbabwe two-legged encounter will qualify for the Eight Nations qualifying tournament which will serve as a final qualifier for the Rio Olympics. The final tournament in Dakar, Senegal, will be played from 28 November – 12 December 2015.
Young Warriors squad
Goalkeepers: Tatenda Mukuruva, Donovan Benard, Criss Mverechena
Defenders: Ronald Pfumbidzai, Blessing Moyo, Carlos Rusere, Teenage Hadebe, Nqobizitha Masuku, Lawrence Mhlanga, Raphael Kutinyu, Jimmy Kanono, Farai Madhananga
Midfielders: Marshall Mudehwe, Gerald Takwara, Malvern Gaki, Wisdom Mutasa, Walter Musona, Kuda Mahachi, Marvelous Nakamba
Strikers: Thomas Chideu, Knox Mutizwa, Mgcini Sibanda, Tino Kadewere, Pritchard Mpelele