Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
YOUNG Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa was once again left a disappointed and frustrated man after ZIFA called off a proposed training camp scheduled to start yesterday following a rescheduling of the Under-23 Championships second round qualifier against Swaziland. Pasuwa had indicated to ZIFA that he had wanted the Young Warriors to assemble in the capital yesterday to m prepare for their second round, first leg qualifier against Young Sihlangu.
The match was originally pencilled in for Rufaro on April 26 but the Confederation of African Football announced over the weekend that the fixture had been revised and the first leg will now be staged on the weekend of May 22-24.
This follows the changes that have been necessitated by the fact that Senegal, whom Zimbabwe were due to play in the third round, if they overcome Swaziland and South Africa, are now no longer participating in the qualifiers.
Senegal have now qualified as hosts of the tournament scheduled to begin on December 5.
The West Africa nation replaced the Democratic Republic of Congo who withdrew from hosting the competition forcing CAF to look for late replacement hosts.
After securing their place at the African Games scheduled for Congo Brazzaville in September the Young Warriors have now set their targets on a place at the Under-23 Championships.
The four top teams at the Under-23 Championships will qualify to represent Africa at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and Zimbabwe must clear the hurdles posed by Swaziland in the second round and South Africa in the third in order to book a ticket to Dakar.
And Pasuwa, whose team surprised the nation by knocking out giants Cameroon in the African Games, believes the Under-23 Championships qualifiers will present a much tougher task for his charges.
But the coach has had to once again endure with the frustration that has actually become synonymous with working with ZIFA after the association told him the training camp he had asked for was no longer possible.
ZIFA ,who are due to meet with the coach today, have instead proposed that the Young Warriors can only regroup towards the May 24 date but Pasuwa yesterday maintained that despite the postponement of the game, his squad should have gone ahead with their training camp.
“Remember against Cameroon we never had a real training camp to talk about with all the disruptions we faced and I had said even four or five days with these guys would help us a lot to work on our weaknesses.
“While we are sleeping, Swaziland have been in camp for over a month now and just to show how serious they are about qualifying they decided to forego the African Games qualifiers and concentrate only on the Olympic Games.
“Just because we beat Cameroon doesn’t mean we are now a perfect team . . . football needs practice and we cannot afford to underrate Swaziland based on previous results between the two countries.
“They are working hard and they have improved a lot, look at how their club Royal leopards is doing in the CAF competition,’’ Pasuwa said.
ZIFA communications manager Xolisani Gwesela said financial constraints had forced them to cancel the training camp and reckoned that the CAF decision to postpone the qualifier had “actually come as a blessing in disguise’’.
“We do not have resources at the moment and can only go into camp on dates that are closer to the game so we can say the rescheduling of dates is a blessing in disguise because we really didn’t have the resources for this week’s game,’’ Gwesela said.
But reports emanating from Mbabane show a serious Young Sihlangu side that is pulling all the steps in order to be in shape for the Zimbabwe assignment.
According to the Swaziland observer Young Sihlangu are camped at the Football Association Technical Centre where coach Caleb Ngwenya has been taking them through their drills.
Ngwenya told the Observer that he was pleased with his players’ response to his training methods.
“We are doing our level best to have the team ready for the game and are still working on their level of fitness and tactical aspects. I am positive that we will be ready by the time of the match,” he said.
Goalkeepers: Phumlani Ngobese (Young Buffaloes), Phephisani Msibi (Midas City), Phila Mamba (Amalanda)
Defenders: Simphiwe Manana (Midas City), Gcinizwi Dlamini (Sea Birds), Sibusiso Magagula (Citizens), Ndumiso Ndaba (Midas City), Mndeni Mamba (Madlenya), Colani ‘Tyson’ Magagula (Mbabane Swallows), Sibusiso Dlamini (Mbabane Highlanders), Ayanda Kunene (Manzini Wanderers), Thabiso Gumbi (Moneni Pirates)
Midfielders: Mcolisi Mkhontfo (Malanti Chiefs), Khethokuhle Mkhontfo (Midas City), Fanelo Tsabedze (Mbabane Highlanders), Shaka Nkwanyana (Manzini Sundowns), Muzi Dlamini (Royal Leopards), Mlamluli Nkambule (Manzini Sundowns), Ncamiso Gina (Royal Leopards), Njabulo Ndlovu (Mbabane Swallows), Thabo Langa (Sea Birds)
Strikers: Mthunzi ‘Xavi’ Mkhontfo (Royal Leopards), Muzi Tsabedze (Sea Birds), Mbuso Mabuza (Imphumeleo), Justice Figareitto (Manzini Sundowns), Delisa Hongwane (Manzini Sundowns), Ndumiso ‘Karas’ Dlamini (Moneni Pirates).