Anxious wait for Warriors

HARARE - Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa will announce his final squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tomorrow.

The Warriors broke camp yesterday afternoon as they were given a day off to celebrate the New Year with their loved ones and friends.

They will resume training tomorrow on the day the final squad travelling to Gabon will be announced.

Pasuwa currently has 30 players in his provisional squad and has to drop seven ahead of tomorrow’s Confederation of African Football (Caf) deadline to submit the 23-man squads.

Of those 30 players in the squad, only 28 have been training with star forwards Khama Billiat and Knowledge Musona yet to join the squad.

Billiat has been in the country for the better part of last week but  is yet to join the squad after he was given an extend rest by the coaches after a gruelling season with Mamelodi Sundowns.

Despite been given time off from training, the 26-year-old forward was pictured in the wee hours of Friday at local pub while kissing a female companion. Billiat’s pictures sparked a huge debate on social media.

Musona arrived in the country from Belgium on Thursday but did not pitch up for training on Friday and yesterday.

“We have trained together as a team only this afternoon (on Friday) and this is my first day in office with the whole team minus Khama and Musona,” Pasuwa said on Friday.

“Our final date to submit the squad is on January 2. I hope by then we would have done something to come up with the final 23.

“Remember, we are also working with the doctors as we want to see the results of the medicals conducted on the players when they joined camp.”

Although they have not yet trained with the rest of their teammates, Billiat and Musona are likely to make the Pasuwa’s final squad.

The Aces Youth Soccer Academy alumni were the Warriors top goal scorers during the qualifiers in Group L where they scored three goals each.

The only player definitely not going to Gabon is Maritzburg defender Blessing Moyo, who pulled out of the squad through injury.

Pasuwa was disappointed by Moyo’s injury which robbed him of a versatile player, who made his name as a full back but now has established himself as a holding midfielder at the Team of Choice.

“He is one boy we have been working with from the Under-23s right up to the national team. As a coach, I now had an understanding of knowing what areas to work on with him; his weaknesses and his strengths,” he said.

“It is very unfortunate that he is no longer part of the squad but I would have wanted for him to be here and finish off the job in Gabon.”

In Gabon, the Warriors will be in a tough Group B together with Senegal, Algeria and Tunisia with the matches being staged at the Stade de Franceville in Franceville.

Senegal have already announced their final 23-man squad which is dominated five England-based players.

The Teranga Lions could be spearheaded in attack by Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Mame Biram Diouf of Stoke.

And their midfield could be filled by three more from England in the shape of Cheikhou Kouyate of West Ham, Newcastle’s Mohamed Diame and Everton’s Idrissa Gana Gueye.   

Tunisia named their provisional squad two weeks ago and have already held a training camp in Catalonia, Spain where they took part in two friendly matches.

Henryk Kasperczak is also likely to trip his squad and name the travelling party tomorrow.

Algeria also named their provisional squad before Christmas and are likely to name their final 23 tomorrow. 

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