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LET’S GO FOR GOLD . . . ZIFA board members John Phiri (left) and Fungai Chihuri join coach Callisto Pasuwa on the podium as they address the Warriors during the national team send-off ceremony at a Harare hotel last night

Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
WARRIORS coach Callisto Pasuwa is excited that former captain Partson Jaure will add the experience needed after the defender was added to the squad for the COSAFA Cup that starts this weekend in South Africa.Jaure was given the clearance by his South African outfit, University of Pretoria, to join the Warriors and will connect with his Zimbabwe teammates in Johannesburg this morning.

The former DeMbare defender joins Supersport goalkeeper George Chigova as the only foreign-based players in the team.

The Warriors are expected to leave early this morning after a last-minute bail-out by Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministry leader, Walter Magaya, who provided funds for the air tickets and camping fees.

The technical team had to turn to Jaure after failing to get Kelvin Moyo from FC Platinum and concerns over the fitness of one of the centre-backs, Douglas Sibanda.

The other central defender, Justice Jangano from Division One side Gunners, has not been playing top-flight after his intended move to Harare giants CAPS United fell through early this year.

“We had to call in Partson so that, at least, we have an experienced guy at the centre-back. We have new faces in that position. Besides Sibanda, who played in Morocco, the rest have not played in big games.

“Still he (Sibanda) hasn’t been playing regularly at Highlanders because I understand he has just come from injury, so he could be lacking in terms of match fitness,” said Pasuwa.

The Warriors were further boosted by the arrival of midfield magician, Ronald Chitiyo, who was released by Dynamos yesterday.

The Warriors have a largely inexperienced squad as the technical team could not get all the players they needed from the local sides.

Most of the Premiership teams were reluctant to release their players because of the pressure of the league games.

Pasuwa said they also dropped plans to have unheralded Jomo Cosmos striker Charlton Mashumba.

Cosmos have not responded to ZIFA’s call and the fact that they are currently involved in promotional play-offs in South Africa meant the striker may not be available since he is one of their key players.

The former DeMbare coach was charmed by the inclusion of Chitiyo who joined their preparations yesterday.

Chitiyo was part of the team that took part at the last edition of the tournament when Zimbabwe finished as runners up to hosts Zambia in 2013.

“Mostly, we have an inexperienced squad. We have about three or four who have played in the COSAFA and the CHAN tournaments before and the rest are new guys.

“But in a team, you also need one boy who has individual brilliance in the mould of (Lionel) Messi, the kind of players who can take things into their hands and produce something out of nothing when things get tough.

“People like him (Chitiyo) are needed in the team which is a plus for us. He has played COSAFA games before and he knows what it is to be there,” said Pasuwa.

Chicken Inn midfielder Danny Phiri is likely to be given the captain’s armband ahead of other old horses like Hardlife Zvirekwi, Chigova and Chitiyo.

Zimbabwe will start their campaign with a preliminary round clash against Mauritius on Sunday. They are in Group A alongside Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles.

Assistant coach Saul Chaminuka was originally scheduled to guide the Warriors in the preliminary phase.

Pasuwa, who is also the national Under-23 team coach, was likely to remain behind to prepare the Olympic side for the upcoming Caf Under-23 Championships qualifier against Swaziland next week.

However, the technical team was yesterday exploring the possibility of Pasuwa travelling with the team today and helping them in the opening match against Mauritius and then returning home to take care of the Young Warriors.

Warriors squad:

G. Chigova (SuperSport, SA), B. Donovan (How Mine), T. Munditi (Harare City), H. Zvirekwi (CAPS United), D. Sibanda (Highlanders), J. Jangano (Gunners), P. Jaure, R. Kawondera (Flame Lily), D. Phiri (Chicken Inn), T. Magorimbo (ZPC Kariba), L. Genti (Whawha), R. Manuvire (ZPC Kariba), R. Chitiyo (Dynamos), T. Chipunza (Triangle), C. Rusere (Dynamos), T Chawapiwa (Harare City), P. Mpelele (Hwange), E. Rusike (Hwange)