KEY TRIO . . . Young Warriors captain Wisdom Mutasa (right) shares a lighter moment with former skipper Ronald Pfumbidzai (left) and Dynamos right back Blessing Moyo after Thursday’s training session at Support Unit ground — Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda

KEY TRIO . . . Young Warriors captain Wisdom Mutasa (right) shares a lighter moment with former skipper Ronald Pfumbidzai (left) and Dynamos right back Blessing Moyo after Thursday’s training session at Support Unit ground — Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda

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YOUNG WARRIORS coach Kallisto Pasuwa fears the momentum that his rebuilding exercise had gathered in November last year when his charges fought gallantly away in Morocco has been lost.

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Although the Young Warriors lost 1-2 in Morocco, their performance won them many hearts in a game that saw rising United Kingdom-based forwards Macauley Bonne and David Moyo making their national team débuts.

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However, that rebuilding mission appears doomed if last week’s events in the national Under-23 camp are anything to go by.

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The Young Warriors go into battle against Cameroon at Rufaro this afternoon on the backdrop of shoddy preparations that saw Pasuwa and his technical team battle with local Premiership clubs for the release of key players.

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With the Warriors out of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, thanks to the blundering Zifa, focus is now on the Young Warriors, who begin their quest for a place at the All-Africa Games with a date against the West Africans.

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However, Pasuwa believes the environment he is working under is a minefield.

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“We are like builders with inadequate building material,” said the award-winning coach.

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“When we require 100 face bricks sometimes we get 10 and we cannot really achieve the ultimate goal in this environment.

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“Everyone agrees the Young Warriors are the future of this country, but for us to build a strong foundation we need everyone pulling in one direction.

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“Rebuilding is not an overnight job; a lot of dedication is required and so are the necessary inputs. I am afraid we have a huge challenge on that front.

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“We want more time with the players, but that has not been possible. We had started well with that team that lost 1-2 in Morocco last year, but if you look at it, that team is now in bits and pieces.

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“There is need for continuity and consistency if we are to get anywhere. But above all, effective dialogue with the clubs is also needed because they are the owners of these players.

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“There is need for the authorities to look at the international fixtures vis-a-vis the local Premiership games and plan ahead so that the mishap that happened this week (last week) does not recur.”

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Reigning Coach of the Year and Pasuwa’s assistant Saul Chaminuka is more worried about how the public will judge them should their project implode.

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“Sometimes you begin to wonder if there is an element of politics in all this. What I fear most is that our images are now exposed to a huge risk. This is dragging our names into the mud.

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“At the end of the day we will be judged by the results on the field of play and people will forget about the conditions we are operating under.

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“We would want a situation where people will say these guys have failed and yet they had all the necessary resources.

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“We have a big task at hand and yet we are working under difficult conditions. I don’t know why Zifa and the Premier Soccer League are not agreeing.

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“I do not know why the league had to start the same weekend that we have a big international game against Cameroon.

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“We spent the whole week not knowing exactly which team would play on Sunday (today), fearing a situation where we would have half of the squad playing league games on Saturday then feature for the national team a day later. That is not ideal,” lamented the ZPC Kariba mentor.

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Pasuwa and Chaminuka were last year given the mandate to build the base for the future national teams, but their project has been blighted by various off-field setbacks.

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Young Warriors in their own words

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Wisdom Mutasa: Young Warriors captain

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“I know a lot is expected of me these days and that obviously exerts pressure on a player, but I am trying to cope.

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“The game against Cameroon is an important occasion for us as upcoming players; we need to get a good result because it will be difficult in the return leg.

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“I am working hard; my club coach Norman Mapeza has been pushing me since he took over at FC Platinum.

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“My father Lloyd also gives me vital tips; he is always telling me the importance of getting into the box whenever we are attacking. That has been paying off because I am scoring more goals.”

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Ronald Pfumbidzayi: Young Warriors left-back

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“This match is very important in that it gives us a platform to showcase our talent; we are still growing as players and we need games of this nature.

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“Yes, the squad is depleted because some of the key players could not be released by their clubs, but what I have been telling the available players is that this could be a blessing in disguise for them.

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“We have to beat Cameroon and qualify for the All-Africa Games, a stage where we can market our talent.”

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Blessing Moyo: Young Warriors right-back

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“The issue about our preparations in the run-up to this game is now water under the bridge; we just have to make do with what is available and focus on the task at hand.

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“Cameroon are a powerhouse and I predict a tough game, but we have been working very hard, the nation is pinning its hopes on us and we will try our best.

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“I am happy the knee problem I had since the start of the year is over, and now I can concentrate on my quest to remain one of the best young players in the country.”