Warriors begin Cosafa preps

HARARE - The Warriors began their preparations for the defence of their 2018 Cosafa Castle Cup by holding their first training session at Yadah Hotel yesterday.

Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa has opted to select an experienced squad made up of some of Zimbabwe’s international stars playing in Europe and South Africa.

Chidzambwa decided to use the Cosafa Castle Cup as part of his team’s preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers which resume in September when Zimbabwe take on Group G rivals Congo.

The Warriors began their campaign with a solid 3-0 home win over Liberia in June last year and top Group G on goal difference ahead of the DR Congo.

The tournament kicks off tomorrow in Limpopo with Group A matches which sees the Comoros take on Seychelles while Madagascar are up against Mozambique in Polokwane.

The winner from Group A has been drawn against South Africa in the quarter-finals on Sunday, June 3.

Zimbabwe, who are the defending champions after winning last year’s tournament by beating neighbours Zambia 3-1 in the final, will begin their title defence in the quarter-final stage after they were handed a bye.

Chidzambwa’s charges will take on winners of Group B, which comprises Botswana, Angola, Mauritius and Malawi on June 3.

The Cosafa Castle Cup schedule is a taxing one for the eight first round competitors who play a game every second day with only the group winner advancing.

There are two matches every day from tomorrow through to next Friday, June 1, in the first round with the games played at both the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in the centre of Polokwane and the Seshego Stadium, on the outskirts of the city.

It is the first time in 10 years that all 14 member nations are competing as the Comoros return to the field for the first time in 2008.

“Looking at the squads selected, this promises to be a very tough competition. The countries are all coming with top teams and it is difficult to see who is going to come out on top,” said Cosafa’s chairperson of competitions, Timothy Shongwe of Swaziland.

Group A consists of Madagascar, Mozambique, the Comoros and Seychelles with the winner meeting South Africa in the quarter-final.

The other quarter-finals pairings will see last year’s runners-up Zambia take on Namibia while Lesotho have been drawn to face Swaziland.

Cosafa 2018 Provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs), Donovan Bernard (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Chang Mariyoni (Triangle)

Defenders: Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Kelvin Moyo (FC Platinum), Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest), Jameson Mukombwe (FC Platinum), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Harare City), Costa Nhamoinesu (AC Sparta Prague), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Honest Moyo (Highlanders), Adam Chicksen (Bradford City)

Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates), Richard Hachiro (Herentals), Andy Rinomhota (Reading), Kundai Benyu (Oldham Athletic), Abbas Amidu (Entag El Harby), Talent Chawapiwa (Baroka), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars), Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Singida United), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge)

Strikers: Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht), Evans Rusike (Supersport United), Macaulley Bonne (Leyton Orient), Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens IF), Kelly Lunga (Bonner SC), Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City)

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