With the Zimbabwe Warriors usually absent from bigger and more rewarding tournaments like the African Nations Cup and the World Cup, the regional tournament and the African Nations Championships are all that is left for the fans to fall back on.
Coach Kalisto Pasuwa, probably with his gaze fixed more on the September 4-19 All-Africa Games, selected a largely youthful side for the regional showcase, but that does not take the interest away from the country’s success-starved fans, most of who believe the future of Zimbabwean football lies in the lads selected.
The Warriors’ stand-in coach has already drawn himself a mixed bag of reactions from fans, as he looks to be a man more focused on building the future than enjoying the present, after the former Dynamos mentor selected players whose average is in the early 20s. While that admittedly builds a strong base for the future, there are some who still believe youth should have been laced with experience, as they view the Cosafa Cup as Zimbabwe’s chance to redeem its soccer pride against largely token opposition.
Zimbabwe will begin their campaign with a Group A tie against lowly Madagascar on Sunday, hoping for a win that will hopefully give the young team a taste of blood that will sharpen their younger to achieve even more. There is no much separating Madagascar with the Cameroon Under-23 side that Pasuwa’s boys booted out of the All Africa Games qualifiers last month, so there will be no excuse for the Young Warriors to lose their opening game.
Two days after the Madagascar game, next up will be the Seychelles, themselves not any better proposition either. Namibia, probably the most difficult of opponents for the Young Warriors, will come on Game 3 on Thursday. It is against that background that Zimbabwe should win both their opening games if they are to proceed to the next round of the tie.
Pasuwa will also use the Cosafa Cup to prepare his Under-23 side for the more gruelling All-Africa Games, slated for Brazaville, Congo in September, while also laying a foundation for him to be possibly appointed the next Zimbabwe senior national team coach.
Zimbabwe have won a joint-record four COSAFA Cup tournaments, the last in 2009 on home soil and also appeared in the previous final in 2013, but were beaten 2-0 by Zambia, who share the record for most wins.
Goalkeepers: Tatenda Mkuruva, Takabva Mawaya
Defenders: Tapiwa Pfumbudzai, Blessing Moyo, Liberty Chakoroma, Teenage Radebe, John Tungamirai Takwara, Praise Tonha, Munyaradzi Nyenye Diro
Midfielders: Wisdom Mtasa, Lawrence Mhlanga, Philana Kadewere, Terrence Gonzo, Carlos Rusere, Tafadzwa Kutinyu
Strikers: Prichard Mpelele, Malvin Gaki, Thomas Chidheu, Mgcini SibandaPost published in: Football