ONE of the heroes of the Warriors’ Cosafa Cup triumph last year, Talent Chawapiwa, has backed the senior national football team to defend their regional title during this year’s competition in Polokwane, South Africa.
BY GARISH PHIRI
“I believe we can defend the Cosafa Cup title because now, we have a stronger team than the one the one we had last year when we won the title,” he said.
“Looking at the current squad, we definitely have more experienced players, so we don’t have a reason to not defend because we have a complete side.”
The 25-year-old winger was one of the stars of the Warriors’ Cosafa Cup winning side resulting in South African Absa Premiership clubs jostling for his signature.
He eventually settled for highflying Baroka FC, where after a successful debut season, he is already attracting interest from top South African clubs such as Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns.
Chawapiwa’s immediate attention is however to ensure history repeats itself by helping the Warriors reclaim their title.
He said he was relishing the tough competition for places in the starting 11 ahead of the Warriors quarter-final encounter tomorrow.
“The competition for places in the team is obviously tough because I’ll be competing with experienced players, players who are in good form now. You have to pull up your socks as a player,” the winger said.
The former ZPC Kariba and FC Platinum forward enjoyed a great debut season with Baroka FC, as he contributed to the Limpopo-based side’s cause with several fine displays which yielded a goal and five assists.
South African media reports say Kaizer Chiefs are set to fight for the player’s signature along with rivals Mamelodi Sundowns.
Although pleased with his exploits, Chawapiwa is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
“I am happy with my session at Baroka FC because I managed to play almost all the games and I managed to contribute for the team as well. The owner of the team is also happy for me and my teammates are also happy and I am proud of myself,” he said.
“For now, I am still contracted to Baroka, but there are rumours that something will happen in June. I don’t know what will happen, but I am here and I will finish playing Cosafa, where I am going” he said.
Chawapiwa is part of a star-studded Warriors squad that is headlined by want-away Mamelodi Sundowns forward Khama Billiat and in form, Tinotenda Kadewere, who has been scoring for fun for Djurgardens IF in Sweden.
The Warriors are, however, expected to miss the services of star striker Knowledge Musona, who was not included in the final squad due to an ankle injury.
There are seven South Africa-based players in coach Sunday Chidzambwa’s final selection‚ including Orlando Pirates midfielder Marshall Munetsi‚ Chawapiwa and the goalkeeping duo of Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs) and George Chigova (Polokwane City).
AmaZulu midfielder, Ovidy Karuru‚ who top-scored in the Cosafa Cup last year with six goals as Zimbabwe romped to the title‚ is also included.
The Warriors face the winner of Group B in their quarter-final on Sunday and then the victor of the clash between Lesotho and Swaziland in the semi-finals.
Goalkeepers: Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs‚ SA)‚ Talbert Shumba (Chapungu)‚ George Chigova (Polokwane City‚ SA)
Defenders: Kelvin Moyo (FC Platinum)‚ Divine Lunga (Chicken Inn)‚ Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids‚ Wales)‚ Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Harare City)‚ Jameson Mukombwe (FC Platinum)
Midfielders: Talent Chawapiwa (Baroka FC‚ SA)‚ Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates‚ SA)‚ Ovidy Karuru (AmaZulu‚ SA)‚ Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns‚ SA)‚ Richard Hachiro (Herentals)‚ Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars)‚ Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Chicken Inn).
Strikers: Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens IF‚ Sweden)‚ Abbas Amidu (Entag El Harby‚ Egypt)‚ Terrence Dzvukamanja (Ngezi Platinum Stars)‚ Evans Rusike (SuperSport United‚ SA)