Warriors preps in shambles

HARARE - The Warriors’ preparations for their weekend’s 2017 Afcon qualifier against Guinea yesterday got off to a disastrous start after Zifa failed to provide air tickets for all foreign-based players called for the tie, the Daily News has learnt.

The Warriors take on the Syli Nationale on Sunday at Rufaro Stadium in their second game in Group L but by the time of going to print last night, only two players — goalkeeper Elvin Chipezeze and Edmore Chirambadare of Chicken Inn had reported for camp.

Zifa officials were not picking up calls to clarify the development by the time of going to print.

National team coach Calisto Pasuwa had included the majority of foreign-based players from Europe and South Africa but it seems the former Dynamos gaffer will be forced to tinker more with his initial squad.

Already, Pasuwa has been forced to make changes to his initial squad. Liberty Chakoroma has been called in to replace highly-rated Tendai Darikwa of Burnley United after he indicated his unwillingness to represent his country of birth.

Dynamos midfielder Ronald Chitiyo has been drafted in to replace Bonnie Macauley of Colchester United with ZPC Kariba winger Raphael Manuvire coming in as a direct replacement for the injured Quincy Antipas.

The Daily News understands defender Costa Nhamoinesu, who plies his trade in the Czech Republic for Sparta Prague, could join camp either today or tomorrow after he bought his own ticket in anticipation of a refund when he arrives.

Other local players were expected to join the two players at Daisy Lodge last night where they will be camped ahead of the game.

Zimbabwe are joint leaders of Group L with Swaziland on three points and need a victory against the West Africans to maintain pole position in the group.

Pasuwa was forced to cast his net wider as the fixture clashes with the Young Warriors’ assignment in Congo Brazzaville for the 2015 African Games which start on September 3.

Most of the players who represented Zimbabwe in their opening match in Group L when they beat Malawi 2-1 away back in June have been included in the African Games squad.

The latest Zifa bungling could potentially destabilise the Warriors who have lurched from one crisis to another whenever they prepare for matches.

Pasuwa himself returned to coach the Warriors last week after he was paid his outstanding salary by the financially-ridden local football governing body.

Despite posting impressive results as Warriors coach, Pasuwa has not had the respect that he deserves from his employer.

A disastrous start to preparations for this crunch tie could have a bearing on who qualifies from the group which also includes Malawi whom the Warriors beat in their own backyard in June.

Guinea are a pale shadow of the once hallowed teams of the past which had players such as Aboubacar Sidiki “Titi” Camara.

They slumped to an uninspiring defeat to minnows, Swaziland, in their opening fixture in June.

Success-starved Warriors fans are hoping for a comprehensive victory on Sunday to put the Warriors in a commanding position in the group.

A good run in the Afcon could go a long way in pacifying the supporters who were miffed by  Zimbabwe’s exclusion from participating in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers because of a $60 000 debt owed to former coach Valinhos.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi (University of Pretoria), Elvin Chipezeze (Chicken Inn), Tatenda Munditi (Harare City)

Defenders: Hardlife Zvirekwi, Justice Jangano (CAPS United), Liberty Chakoroma, Milton Ncube (Ajax Cape Town) Costa Nhamoinesu (Sparta Prague), Patson Jaure (University of Pretoria), Teenage Hadebe (Highlanders)

Midfielders: Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs), Danny Phiri (Chicken Inn), Ronald Chitiyo (Dynamos), Khama Billiat (Sundowns), Kuda Mahachi (Sundowns), Rapheal Manuvire (ZPC Kariba)

Strikers: Edmore Chirambadare (Chicken Inn), Knowledge Musona (K.V. Oostende), Mathew Rusike (Halmstads BK), Nyasha Mushekwi (Djurgardens), Cuthbert Malajila (Sundowns).

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