HomeSportSoccerYoung Warriors troop into camp

Young Warriors troop into camp

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THE Zimbabwe Under-23 soccer team was expected to start trooping into camp last night for the sink or swim African Championship final qualifier, second leg against South Africa set for Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday night.

BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA

Malvern Gaki, Carlos Rusere and Blessing Moyo were already in camp by last night, while the Highlanders trio of Knox Mutizwa, Teenage Hadebe and Nqobizitha Masuku were due to arrive later.

The FC Platinum pair of Wisdom Mutasa and Walter Musona connected from Mutare following their league match against Buffaloes on Sunday.

Kalisto Pasuwa’s men complicated life for themselves after allowing the visitors to score an away goal in the first leg at Rufaro in Harare following a 1-1 draw.

The Young Warriors will now have to roll up their sleeves to turn the tables against a technically superior South African side that thrives on keeping possession and are inspired by creative midfielder Keagan Dolly, scorer of the goal that could cost Zimbabwe in this return leg.

The Young Warriors could again be without some of their foreign based players midfielder Marvelous Nakamba who plays his club football in Netherlands with Vitesse, leftback Ronald Pfumbidzai and new Ajax Cape Town striker Thomas Chideu.

Pasuwa had included the trio in the squad which is expected to start training today, but Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said although they had sent letters of invitation to their respective clubs and were yet to get a response.

Gwesela was, however, hopeful, Mamelodi Sundowns forward Kuda Mahachi will be released.

“Local players have started to troop into camp. So far there are six players who have joined and we expect the rest later tonight (last night). But for the foreign-based players, the position will be clearer tomorrow (today). We sent letters of invitation to their respective clubs, but we are still to get responses. We are, however hopeful Mahachi will be released,” Gwesela said.

South Africa coach Owen da Gama says the job is only half done.

“We are not going to take anything for granted in the return leg. Yes, we have done half the job but we need to complete the task on Saturday evening,” da Gama told the South African Football Association (Safa) official website yesterday.

The Young Warriors are scheduled to leave on Friday morning.

The match venue is about 450km from Johannesburg and a connecting flight from OR Tambo International Airport will take about 45 minutes to get to their destination.

If they connect by road, it will take them close to five hours.

Provisional squad:

Tatenda Mukuruva, Donovan Bernard, Blessing Moyo, Prichard Mpelele, Lawrence Mhlanga, Teenage Hadebe, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Carlos Rusere, Knox Mutizwa, Mgcini Sibanda, Malvin Gaki, Thomas Chideu, Kudakwashe Mahachi, John Takwara, Walter Musona, Wisdom Mutasa, Praise Tonha, Jimmy Konono, Edwin Madhanaga

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