Most of Zimbabwe’s former coaches have used the Cosafa Castle Cup to add glory lines to their curriculum vitae, but the former Dynamos mentor, already with four straight league championships to his credit, showed when he recently named his 2015 Cosafa Cup squad that he is more focused on building a formidable future team than quenching the thirst for success by giving fans immediate yet short-lived joy.
Following a series of failures to crack it at the broader, more respected and more rewarding tournaments like the African Nations Cup and the World Cup, Zimbabwe have usually used the regional Cosafa Cup to stake a small claim at being one of the continent’s soccer powerhouses.
However, that kind of fame – already achieved a joint-record four times against teams largely built around fringe players – has failed to be maintained at bigger competitions, where fans have usually been left wondering if soccer can indeed be called “Zimbabwe’s Number One” sport.
It therefore came as a refreshing move when the former national team midfielder, allowed to use senior players in the Cosafa tournament, chose to go for the greenhorns that gave him success against continental powerhouse Cameroon with that win that cleared Zimbabwe’s passage to the All-Africa Games.
Not only will Pasuwa have time to knit his side for the September 4-19 All-Africa Games in Brazaville, but he will also set a proper foundation on which the future national team could be built.
Neighbours South Africa have already led the way in taking Southern African soccer higher on the continent by building a team around juniors and that Zimbabwe have now followed suit makes the future even brighter for the region.
It is just unfortunate that Pasuwa is still operating outside a solid contractual mandate, which could well throw away his attempts when a different coach with different aims for the national team is appointed at a later stage. Otherwise, Zimbabweans can look forward to getting a glimpse of their future national team when the Cosafa Cup 2015 finals roar into life in South Africa on May 17-30.
The Warriors enter the competition in the first round group stage, where they have been drawn alongside Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius. They open their campaign against the latter on May 17 and will hope to top their Group A, which would set up a quarterfinal meeting against Zambia, the side who beat them in the 2013 finals.
Built around players in their late teens and early 20s, Zimbabwe’s is an exciting squad that gives fans a glimpse into the future of Zimbabwean football with many players that are tipped to become top stars.
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, with who they share the record for most wins.
Zimbabwe squad: 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: Sport