WARRIORS will face Zambia’s Chipolopolo in their first match of the four-nation tournament set for Ndola, Zambia, next week.
BY HENRY MHARA
The Sunday Chidzambga-coached side have been invited to the tournament, which also includes South Africa and Angola.
According to media reports from Lusaka, the Warriors, current Cosafa region champions, will face Chipolopolo in their opening match at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on March 22.
Winner of that encounter will face the victor of the match between South Africa and Angola in the final on March 25.
Zifa yesterday said the squad for the tournament will be announced today, with a host of foreign-based players set to be invited.
Czech Republic based defender Costa Nhamoinesu is expected to make his return to the squad after missing the Afcon group G opening qualifier against Liberia and two friendly matches last year.
His club, through a statement on their official website, confirmed last week that the dreadlocked defender has been invited by Zifa for the tournament.
Midfielder, Gerald Takwara has also been called, with his South African club, Ajax Cape Town also last week confirming that they had received a letter of request from the football governing body.
Players are expected to start arriving in the country for a short camp at the weekend.
Sources told NewsDaySport yesterday that Chidzambga has kept the core of the team that played in the last two friendly matches against Lesotho and Namibia in November last year.
However, skipper Knowledge Musona and Kuda Mahachi are set to miss the tournament due to injuries.
Other players who the coach had reportedly requested but are likely unable to report for camp are the British-based quartet of Tendayi Darikwa, Kundai Benyu, Admiral Muskwe and Macauley Bonne.
The four, who featured for the Warriors for the first time in the team’s last friendlies matches, were all born and raised in the United Kingdom, but qualify to play for Zimbabwe through parentage.
“Remember they hold British passports and while they came and played in the friendly matches, they can’t use those passports in official matches. They are still waiting for the government to issue them with Zimbabwe passports. Former Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane was personally facilitating the process, but since he left, the process has stalled. The new minister (Kazembe Kazembe) is doing little to help in that regard,” a source said.
Sources said Farai Munetsi and Butholezwe Ncube of Orlando Pirates and Amazulu, respectively, have received their first national team call ups, having impressed for their South African teams.
Liberty Chakoroma, Jimmy Dzingai, Peter Muduhwa, Devine Lunga, goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya and Praise Tonha are the only locals in the team.
Zimbabwe are using the two matches to prepare for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier match away to Congo in September.
The Warriors lead Group G with three points, following their 3-0 win over Liberia early this year. The group also has DR Congo, who also have three points, and with two top teams from the group qualifying for the finals to be held in Cameroon in 2019, Zimbabwe will be fancying their chances.
Hosts Zambia announced their squad on Saturday while South Africa announce theirs this morning.