WARRIORS coach Zdravko Logarušić has dropped six players from the African Nations Championships (Chan) squad who failed to impress in friendly matches against local clubs.
BY HENRY MHARA
The Warriors played three friendly matches last week against Ngezi Platinum Stars, Caps United and Yadah Stars to assess the players in camp.
Thirty-four were initially called to prepare for the tournament that is exclusively for local players, but Logarušić was forced to drop six FC Platinum players whose club is engaged in the Caf Champions League.
Sources told NewsDay that the Croat had dropped a further six who failed to impress during the friendly matches.
Those who have been dropped include Valentine Musarurwa, Valentine Kadonzvo, Collins Duwa, Phineas Bhamusi, Xolani Ndlovu and William Manondo.
No comment could be obtained from national team general manager Wellington Mupandare yesterday.
However, the sources said the coach had already identified players that would be drafted as replacements.
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Former Warriors captain Denver Mukamba has made it after his impressive show for Ngezi Platinum Stars in the friendly match and has already joined camp.
It is understood that the Caps United pair of Tafadzwa Njaravani and Richard Hachiro also did enough to impress the coach, and are set to join the squad this week.
Hachiro has previously played for the Warriors but his last stint was at the Cosafa Championships in South Africa last year, a tournament that was used to select the Warriors squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Logarušić, who is sweating over the fitness of King Nadolo, yesterday said he will make his final selection of the squad after playing three more friendly matches this week.
Nadolo, one of the coach’s favoured players, hurt his ankle in the match against Caps United and results of the scan to determine the extent of the injury are expected today.
Zifa are still in negotiations with possible opponents but it is believed that Dynamos and FC Platinum who are preparing for their Caf Champions League first round clash against Simba Stars of Tanzania next week have both agreed to the friendly matches.
“There are some players will come into camp from Monday (today),” Logarušić said yesterday. “I want to find some players to make the team stronger.”
Last week Logarušić told NewsDay: “I’m using the friendly matches against the local clubs to see if there are other players that can fit in the Chan team. The current players in the squad were chosen by my assistants because I didn’t know them. I’m playing these games to see if there are some players we missed during the initial list.
The team will break camp on Monday for the festive season and regroup seven days later.
Logarušić is expected to name his final squad early next year for submission to Caf. The coach is hoping to play two more friendly matches next year before departure to the finals.
Chan kicks off will on January 16 with Zimbabwe playing hosts Cameroon before facing Burkina Faso and Mali in other Group A matches.
“The target is to represent Zimbabwe properly and try to pass the group stage. We will go game by game. The federation has invested money in us to go and represent the country so we have to go and do the best that we can. This is not the situation that we expected but we cannot cry about it. We are Warriors, we can’t just surrender like that,” Loga said.
Warriors squad in camp
Goalkeepers: Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders), Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos), Nelson Chadya (Ngezi)
Defenders: Xolani Ndlovu (Chicken Inn), Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Partson Jaure (Dynamos), Valentine Musarurwa (Harare City), Ian Nekati (Chicken Inn), Qadr Amini (Ngezi), Frank Makarati (Ngezi), Pawell Govere (Golden Eagles), Andrew Mbeba (Highlanders)
Midfielders: Denver Mukamba (Ngezi), Juan Mutudza (Dynamos), Valentine Kadonzvo (Chicken inn), Trevor Mavunga (Triangle), Phenias Bamusi (Caps), Wellington Taderera (Ngezi), Devon Chafa (Ngezi), Collins Duwa (Triangle), Tichaona Chipunza (Chicken Inn), Ishmael Wadi (Caps), Leeroy Mavunga (Caps), Nqobizitha Masuku (Highlanders), Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City), King Nadolo (Dynamos)
Strikers: Obriel Chirinda (Chicken Inn), Thomas Chideu (Harare City), William Manondo (Harare City)
Follow Henry on Twitter @hernrymhara