Zebras rescue Warriors

The Warriors are in Group C of the qualifiers where they are pitted together with Rwanda, Nigeria, Benin, South Africa and Lesotho.

Warriors coach Baltemar Brito has been given another opportunity to watch his charges in action in a second international friendly match ahead of their next month’s Fifa World Cup qualifiers. The friendly, with the Zebras of Botswana, was organised by Zifa and will be played at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday.

Next month, Zimbabwe will begin their bid for a place at the World Cup finals with matches against Rwanda away and Nigeria at home.

With all local stadia adjudged unfit to host international matches, the Warriors will host Nigeria in Botswana.

The Warriors are in Group C of the qualifiers where they are pitted together with Rwanda, Nigeria, Benin, South Africa and Lesotho.

In a statement, Zifa said foreign-based players will start jetting in today for the international friendly match with the Zebras.

It was not clear by yesterday whether Zifa managed to send out invitation letters to the players’ respective clubs on time.

“A Warriors squad made up of local and foreign-based players is scheduled to play Botswana in an international friendly on Saturday, October 14, at the National Sports Stadium. The squad will be publicised once all logistical issues have been finalised. Players will start arriving for camp on Wednesday (today). This match is an integral part of the country's preparations for match days 1 and 2 of the 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers set for November 13 to 21. Our first match will be away to Rwanda before we host Nigeria a few days later,” Zifa said.

Warriors’ manager Clemence Matawu said he was awaiting communication from his bosses to map the way forward in relation to which of the international players would be available for the friendly match.

Fans are expected to fork out US$5 for the rest of the ground, US$10 for Bays 15-18 and US$50 for the VIP to watch the Warriors play on home soil for the first time since the lifting of the Fifa ban.

Last week, Sikhumbuzo Ndebele, a member of the Zifa Normalisation Committee, said a four-team tournament to feature Botswana was lined up as part of the Warriors’ World Cup qualifiers preparations and after the competition, coach Baltemar Brito would be able to come up with his squad to camp in Rwanda for the first Group C match.

“The roadmap of how are going to enter or prepare for the World Cup qualifiers has been covered. We hope to have a selective training knockout where everybody comes; there is the diaspora, the southern and northern regions, and then there is Botswana in the mix,” Ndebele said.

 “So far what is worth noting is that we are going to have a compressed training session where we are saying there are players, young players whom we did not know who have signed professional contracts overseas and they are Zimbabweans who are willing to play. They are not in the limelight because they don’t play for Liverpool and they don’t play for Manchester United. We are offering those players a chance to come and have an opportunity to stand a chance to participate in the World Cup.”

This month’s international break ends next Tuesday.

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