Pagels hail Cosafa return

HARARE - Zimbabwe football coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels has welcomed the return of the Cosafa Cup, saying the regional championship presents him with a wonderful opportunity to widen his player base in the Warriors’ rebuilding phase.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Cosafa launch in the capital yesterday, Pagels said the tournament, which is making a return to the Southern African football calendar for the first time in three years, offers precious game time.

The Warriors are also preparing for a Chan qualifying tie against Mauritius in August.  

The Chan is a tournament reserved for players still plying their trade on the African continent.

According to the Cosafa draw conducted in Lusaka last week, the Warriors, who are the holders of the Cosafa after triumphing on home soil in 2009, will begin their title defence at the quarter-final stage against Malawi.  

South African Breweries, through their Castle Lager brand, have resumed ties with Cosafa after withdrawing their sponsorship more than a decade ago.

Zambia will host this year’s edition between July 6 and 21.

But before they can think of their quarter-final clash against Malawi in Lusaka at the Cosafa Cup, the Warriors will face the Flames in a friendly match pencilled for May 25 as part of the preparations for the World Cup qualifiers against Egypt and Guinea next month.

“It’s really good for us, the Cosafa tournament,” Pagels said.

“It means our players, especially the new guys, will get good experience.

“The Cosafa Cup is not only one match, we have more matches so that’s more game time for the boys.  

“But for the Malawi friendly we have to try other players that we have never tested. It’s really a good thing because not all the players that will play in the friendly will make it to the Cosafa tournament.”

Zimbabwe will be aiming to win the Cosafa trophy a record five times.

Meanwhile, Delta Beverages Marketing Director Maxen Karombo welcomed the renewal of partnership with Cosafa.

“We are delighted to renew our partnership with Cosafa and further our shared aim of uplifting football in the Southern African region,” Karombo said.

Among the guests were Castle Brand Development Manager Africa Jongamazizi Sibanca, Cosafa Operations Officer Sue Destombes, Zifa acting president Ndumiso Gumede and other football personalities. - Godknows Matarutse

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