SUNDAY Chidzambwa yesterday named what appears a very strong Warriors squad to play at the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) tournament, which kicks off in North West Province, South Africa, at the weekend.
BY HENRY MHARA
Chidzambwa is the team’s coach exclusively for this tournament, in a bizarre arrangement by Zifa, which also saw Rahman Gumbo appointed Warriors coach for the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament.
Norman Mapeza remains the interim Warriors coach and will only take charge of the team’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) campaign.
Chidzambwa left out most of the players who played in the 3-0 Afcon qualifying win over Liberia and chose to give most locally-based players a chance.
However, there were places in his 23-man squad for the likes of goalkeeper George Chigova, Eric Chipeta and Ovidy Karuru, who were part of the squad that made a flying start to the Afcon campaign.
The three are based in South Africa and are part of the foreign-based crew selected for the tournament, alongside Knox Mutizwa of Golden Arrows in South Africa and Kaizer Chiefs outcast Michelle Katsvairo.
The ZPC Kariba veteran coach also handed first Warriors call-ups to Yadah’s sensation Leeroy Mavhunga, the Shabanie Mine duo of Nyasha Mpofu and Collins Duwa, Harare City right-back Jimmy Tigere, Bruce Homora of Black Rhinos, Innocent Mucheneka of Chicken Inn and Blessing Majarira of Northern Region Division One side Herentals.
Premier Soccer League top goalscorer Bukhosi Sibanda has also been rewarded with a first senior team call-up for his prolific form in the league, where the rising star has netted 10 goals in 14 matches for his side
There is another chance to excel at national team level for Prince Dube, who trained with the Warriors, but failed to make it into the final 18 against Liberia.
Zimbabwe are in Group B alongside Mozambique, Madagascar and the Seychelles.
The Warriors play Mozambique on Monday, before facing Madagascar two days later, in a match that will see the Warriors bringing up a half-century of games at the Cosafa tournament.
They conclude their group matches against Seychelles on Friday.
The Warriors have to win the group in order to progress to the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, Chidzambwa has named Dynamos coach Lloyd Mutasa and former Highlanders coach Bongani Mafu as his assistants.
Warriors Cosafa squad
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City, South Africa), Takabva Mawaya (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Talbert Mutombeni (Chapungu)
Defenders: Eric Chipeta (Ajax Cape Town, South Africa), Ocean Mushure (Dynamos), Honest Moyo (Highlanders), Bruce Homora (Black Rhinos), Jimmy Tigere (Harare City), Jameson Mukombwe (Black Rhinos), Nyasha Mpofu (Shabanie)
Midfielders: Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Gerald Takwara (FC Platinum), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu, South Africa), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars), Talent Chawapiwa (FC Platinum), Michelle Katsvairo (Kaizer Chiefs), Innocent Mucheneka (Chicken Inn), Collins Duwa (Shabanie)
Strikers: Knox Mtizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows, South Africa), Prince Dube (Highlanders), Bukhosi Sibanda (Bantu Rovers), Blessing Majarira (Herentals), Raphael Manuvire (ZPC Kariba)