Phiri says Warriors Coach Free to use senior Players for Cosafa, Afcon

The Warriors coach is free to include senior players in the squad for the forthcoming Cosafa Cup tournament, Zifa board member (technical) John Phiri has said. The regional event is scheduled for South Africa towards the end of next month.

Zifa board member (technical) John Phiri
Zifa board member (technical) John Phiri

Former Warriors defender Phiri, who is also the chairman of the Zifa High Performance Technical Committee, said Zifa’s dissolution of the national team last year was only an attempt to take a long term view at the development of national team players. There would be no requirement for the coach to confine himself to current Under-23 players for upcoming engagements, he added.

The Zifa board purportedly dissolved the senior team after the failure to get past Tanzania in the preliminary round of the 2015 Afcon qualifiers last year, a move criticised by some given that the team had hardly played together for over a year prior to the matches.

With the 2017 Afcon qualifiers looming, and the Cosafa Cup presenting just about the only opportunity for a semblance of preparation for Zimbabwean, Phiri is moving to clear the air as confusion reigns over the status of the national team following last year’s ‘dissolution.’

“The coach will have the final say on the players to be used for both the Cosafa tournament and the Afcon qualifiers. He will obviously be guided by the need to prepare for the future and include players from the current Under-23 team.

“If we can blend these youngsters with players like (Khama) Billiat and (Knowledge) Musona, I am sure we can have a competitive team.

Hopefully we can have adequate preparations as well ahead of the Afcon qualifiers because we have a fair chance of winning our Group.

“The Cosafa tournament obviously presents an ideal opportunity for us to start preparing for the Afcon qualifiers and one would expect the coach to use his strongest team,’ Phiri told the Zimbabwean this week.

Phiri would not say whether or not U-23 coach Calisto Pasuwa would be appointed substantive Warriors coach, insisting Zifa would soon be making a decision.

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