BY HENRY MHARA
YOUNG Warriors coach Tonderai Ndiraya (pictured) believes he has one of the best squads at the ongoing Cosafa Under-20 Championships in South Africa, which he believes is capable of winning the title.
With the games serving as qualification for next year’s African Under-20 Afcon finals, the Dynamos coach is targeting to reach the final at the championships.
The two finalists will clinch a ticket to the Afcon finals, which will be played in Mauritania next February.
“Technically, I think we have the best team,” Ndiraya told NewsDay Weekender yesterday.
“We are only worried about the physical condition of the boys. This is an area which I think we are lagging behind,” he said.
Ndiraya’s boys came within a minute to upset hosts and tournament favourites South Africa in their opening Group A match at Wolfson Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
The Young Warriors led twice through a first half goal by Panashe Mutimbanyoka and Lexington Mujokoro’s header midway through the second half.
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Oswin Appollis scored in the opening seconds of the second half to cancel Mutimbanyoka’s goal before Mohlala Makola broke Zimbabwe’s hearts with an equaliser in the dying seconds of the match to salvage a draw for his side.
“We should have defended better in all the goals we conceded. But then, the boys are still young so they easily lose concentration. They lost concentration at the most critical phases of the match and we were punished. We could have done better, but those are errors we expect at this level of the game,” Ndiraya said.
“The boys actually did well considering that we only trained for 10 days for this tournament. You could see that the boys were running on empty late in the match because they have not been training.”
The players in the team, most of them who play in the local Premiership have not played any competitive soccer this year after football was suspended in the country due to coronavirus.
Zimbabwe play Mozambique in their second match tomorrow before concluding their group matches against Lesotho two days later.
Mozambique have three points after a 1-0 win over Lesotho on Thursday.
Group winners progress to the semi-finals while the best runners-up, from the three groups, will join them in the last four.