Young Warriors avoid heavyweights

HARARE - The Young Warriors were handed a relatively easy fixture when the 2015 African Games men’s football tournament draw was conducted yesterday, but assistant coach Saul Chaminuka quickly warned of the need for adequate preparations if the team is to do well. 

Zimbabwe have been drawn in Group A where they will face hosts Congo, Sudan and Burkina Faso with Chaminuka hopeful of progressing.

This year’s edition of the African Games will be held in Congo-Brazzaville, from September 3 to 18. Group B which has been dubbed the group of death consists of African football heavyweights Ghana, Senegal, Egypt and Nigeria.

“It appears to be a fair draw,” Chaminuka told the Daily News yesterday.

“These are big tournaments and everything will get down to preparations. We need to prepare in time for tournaments like these ones. We can’t leave anything to chance.

“We have to look around for best players. I hope we will be afforded enough time to work with different players and select the best. We would want to take our best team to the tournament.

“We should not have a repeat of events in the qualifying rounds. It’s not the right way to prepare for tournaments like these. Remember there is a lot to play for because we will also play with Rio in mind.”

The Young Warriors reached the finals after dispatching highly-fancied Cameroon in the final qualifying round.

Zimbabwe won the first leg 1-0 in Harare before going to Yaounde where they held the Cameroonians to a 1-1 draw to progress 2-1 on aggregate.

Calisto Pasuwa’s side qualified under difficult circumstances. In the qualifying rounds, odds were heavily staked against the team after they received little support during preparations.

Pasuwa and his technical team were unable to work with their preferred players. Premiership teams refused to release their best players as the games fall outside the Fifa calendar, but Pasuwa was always determined they could still do it.

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