HARARE - Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa says his players will not be affected by the match-fixing allegations that have rocked local football ahead of Friday’s match against Swaziland.
Zimbabwe travel to Mbabane for a crucial 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Group L qualifier against Sihlangu at the Somhlolo National Stadium.
“I think we need to be positive going into this match. I told the players not to focus on the match-fixing allegations. I told them to ignore it all and focus on the task at hand,” Pasuwa said after the team’s first training session at Rufaro Stadium yesterday.
“It’s quite promising from the guys that are already in camp; they have shown a great deal of determination in terms of their approach.”
The Warriors expect strikers Nyasha Mushekwi, Cuthbert Malajila, Knowledge Musona and goalkeeper Washington Arubi to join the rest of their teammates today.
Arubi was delayed due to some complications with his travelling documents while Musona missed his connecting flight in South Africa yesterday.
South African-based players who reported for camp yesterday are Partson Jaure, Evans Rusike, Eric Chipeta and Kuda Mahachi.
Pasuwa expressed his disappointment over the non-availability of England-based trio of Brendan Galloway, who opted to play for the England Under-21s, Tendayi Darikwa and Macauley Bonne.
“It is a blow not to have Galloway, but on Darikwa he said he is having some problems he has to attend to and asked to be excused on these two matches,” Pasuwa said.
“Bonne has passport challenges as well and cannot make it for this encounter. We were hoping it would be sorted out within this short space of time but we failed.”
The match-fixing allegations have already seen the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) suspending board member for development Edzai Kasinauyo and Warriors assistant coach Nation Dube for their suspected involvement in the scandal.
Former Zifa CEO Henrietta Rushwaya and ex-warriors coach Ian Gorowa are also alleged to be key players in the scandal and have already been suspended.
They are alleged to have been working together with convicted serial match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal’s young brother, who is based in South Africa.
Zifa believe there was a plot to fix Friday’s match with the Warriors expected to lose at least by two goals.
The fixers were also trying to manipulate the reverse fixture scheduled for the National Sports Stadium on Easter Monday.
According to the details provided by the whistleblower, Leeroy Waguta, the cartel had targeted goalkeepers Tatenda Mukuruva, George Chigova, Washington Arubi and defender Partson Jaure.
The South African premier Soccer League has already summoned eight players, and officials, who as of now remain unnamed, to appear before a disciplinary hearing at the end of this month in regard to this scandal.
Warriors captain Willard Katsande has already admitted that a draw in the first match on Good Friday will not be a bad result as the Warriors will still be within touching distance of Sihlangu.
“As you can see, Swaziland are at the top of the log and their game has improved. We are in second-place and our aim is to win this game so we gain control of the group,” he said.
Warriors squad in camp:
Donovan Bernard, Tatenda Mukuruva, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Erick Chipeta, Partson Jaure, Evans Rusike, Hardlife Zvirekwi, Bruce Kangwa, Danny Phiri, Elisha Muroiwa, Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Marshal Mudehwe, Lawrence Mhlanga.