THE national Under-23 team has been presented with a chance to finally taste football action when it faces Botswana in an international friendly match that is meant to commemorate the host nation’s Independence Day on Tuesday. The Young Zebras will host Zimbabwe’s Young Warriors at Botswana’s national stadium.
The Young Warriors technical team, led by head coach Kallisto Pasuwa, selected a youthful side as they begin preparations for qualifiers of the 2015 Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Under 23 African Championship, 2015 Congo All Africa Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The coaches named a 18 member squad which will be led into battle by ZPC Kariba’s head coach Saul Chaminuka. Chaminuka will be assisted by Hwange’s Nation Dube in the absence of Pasuwa who will be in Egypt for a Fifa training program for national team coaches and a review of the just ended World Cup.
Chaminuka said they will use this first match to assess the selected players.
“This is the first time many of these guys have been together. We will use this match to assess them to determine if they are the crop to take us to the next level.
“However, we have confidence in the selected players and the technical team is optimistic of grinding a positive result in Botswana,” said Chaminuka.
Qualifiers of the Under 23 African Championship begin in April 2015.
All players participating in the preliminary and final tournament of U-23 African Championship shall be born on or after 1 January 1993.
The top three teams of the DR Congo U-23 African Championship shall qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio 2016.
ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said the team will troop into camp on Saturday and leave for Botswana on Sunday.
“We expect the boys to be in camp by Saturday evening and they will travel on Sunday. After this game this newly assembled team will be subjected to numerous friendly matches to afford coaches ample time to assess, improve and modify it before the qualifiers commence,” said Gwesela.
After the Botswana game, the Young Warriors are scheduled to play Tanzania and Morocco on 8 October and 16 November respectively.
Of all the 18 players selected to wear national colours in Botswana, Rusere Carlos Rodwell of DC Academy is the only player who does not belong to a premiership club.
There were also places for the Highlanders duo of Knox Mutizwa and speedy Gabriel Nyoni, How Mine’s Donovan Bernard and Lawrence Mhlanga of Chicken Inn.
Bantu Rovers’ pair of Nqobizitha Masuku and towering Tafadzwa Kutinyu, Dynamos’ Blessing Moyo and FC Platinum trio of Kelvin Moyo, Wisdom Mutasa and Walter Musona among others are also set to make the trip to Botswana.
The final 18 men squad
Donovan Bernard (How Mine), Tatenda Mukuruva (Dynamos), Blessing Moyo (Dynamos), Tonha Praise (Triangle), Chakoroma Liberty (Buffaloes), Moyo Kelvin Njabulo (FC Platinum), Mhlanga Lawrence (Chicken Inn), Mavunga Keith Tafadzwa (ZPC Kariba), Pfumbidzayi Tapiwa Ronald (Caps United), Masuku Nqobizitha (Bantu Rovers), Mutasa Wisdom (FC Platinum), Muzondiwa Brian (Black Rhinos), Musona Walter (FC Platinum), Mandiringa Emmanuel (How Mine), Kutinyu Tafadzwa (Bantu Rovers), Nyoni Gabriel (Highlanders), Mutizwa Knox (Highlanders), Rusere Carlos Rodwell (DC Academy).