Warriors begin Guinea preparations

HARARE - The Warriors wasted no time as they started preparations yesterday for this weekend’s 2017 African Cup of Nations Group L qualifier away to Guinea following the arrival of several foreign-based players.

The Warriors, who have already sealed their place at the top of Group L, will travel to Conakry for a date against the Syli Nationale on Sunday hoping to end their fairy-tale campaign on a high note.

The South African-based players — who include captain Willard Katsande, Onismor Bhasera, Evans Rusike, Blessing Moyo, Tendai Ndoro, Cuthbert Malajila and Kuda Mahachi — arrived yesterday.

The SA-based contingent was joined by its teammates from the domestic Premiership comprising Tatenda Mukuruva, Godknows Murwira, Donovan Bernard, Nelson Chadya, Lawrence Mhlanga, Tafadzwa Kutinyu and Teenage Hadebe.

Harare City midfielder Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo also trained with the squad after he had been called up to replace FC Platinum winger Marshal Mudehwe, who was injured in a car crash at the weekend.   

Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa said they are likely to link up with the European-based players Costa Nhamoinesu, Knowledge Musona and Matthew Rusike in Guinea if they don’t arrive today. 

China-based Nyasha Mushekwi was excused from the game to play for his team which is involved in the promotional race in Asia.

Danny Phiri, who recently joined Absa Premiership side Golden Arrows, was also excused to allow him to settle at his new team.

“Of the 21 players that we called up, 15 are already in camp. We had a problem with one local player . . . Mudehwe who was involved in a car accident but we have since replaced him with Chitiyo,” Pasuwa said.

“Four other guys who are playing in Europe, maybe they will have to join us in Guinea. We will assess them when we get to Guinea.

“Mushekwi had a problem with his club as you are aware they are fighting for promotion and they asked if he could be excused and we allowed him to stay since it’s the last match of the qualification.”

Pasuwa said they are taking the game seriously as they begin preparations for next year’s Afcon finals in Gabon.

“It’s a game which is very important to us remember we have had financial problems to play friendly matches. I think it’s one game that we need also to be preparing for Afcon,” Pasuwa said.

“So if we can have these boys for this match, it will help us work on combinations among other things.”

The former Dynamos boss also defended his selection of a strong team for the match considering it’s a dead rubber saying it will help him keep his charges in shape.

“Again, I will come back to the case of Zimbabwe. We are different from countries like South Africa who usually get friendly matches.

“So we cannot change the team now as we are looking for continuity,” Pasuwa said.

“Remember, when we started we had a lot of players from the Under-23 side and we were combining them with the senior guys.

“So we are still looking at those players and you need time to work on combinations.

“If there are local players who are playing well, we will not ignore them but we cannot afford to make a lot of changes.”

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