HomeSportOpportunity opens up for locally-based players

Opportunity opens up for locally-based players



AS domestic football action resumes on Saturday for the first time in more than a year, home-based players have an opportunity to impress Warriors coach Zdravko Logarušić as he draws up his squad for the regional Cosafa Cup tournament scheduled for July.

The Croat, who has been in his native home as there was no football activity taking place in the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak, is expected back in the country end of this month to prepare for the regional tournament.

The coach though is likely to miss a couple of the games as football returns with the Chibuku Super Cup at the weekend as he is still in his native country.

Wellington Mupandare, the national teams general manager, said Logarušić wanted to assess some fringe players and locally-based players who have been idle for a year.

“He (Loga) will be coming back at the end of the month. Now that football has resumed, he is interested in having a close assessment of some fringe Warriors players. Remember, the Cosafa tournament is starting July 2, so he will have the chance to pick the players he wants for this tournament,” he said.

Mupandare added that while the technical team wanted to include some foreign-based players, who include rising Leicester City midfielder Tawanda Masvanhise and several others, they might fail to secure their release as the Cosafa tournament is not a Fifa sanctioned-competition.

Although most players will be on off-season break, clubs have the freedom of choice to release players for tournaments that are outside the Fifa calendar.

Mupandare, however, said the coach was still pursuing the option of having some of these players called up for the tournament.

Masvanhise, who has been playing for the Leicester City development side, was handed a place in the senior team squad last week, where he was an unused substitute in their 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.

He was also an unused substitute in their victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup.

There had been a proposal to have the Warriors play a warm-up game when the 15-day international break commences on May 31.

However, Zifa had on the advice of the coach suspended plans to arrange international friendly matches for the Warriors on the basis that they were too close to the encounter against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and would subject his players to injuries.

The Warriors were scheduled to host Bafana Bafana on June before travelling to Ethiopia.

World soccer governing body Fifa, however, postponed those qualifiers to September.

  • Follow Tawanda on Twitter @Tafitawa

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