Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Mapeza yet to select Warriors captain

By Eddie Chikamhi

Zimbabwe are expected to have a new leader on the pitch when they begin the 2019 Afcon campaign after Willard Katsande and his deputy Cuthbert Malajila were overlooked in a 25-member squad that was announced last week.

The Warriors yesterday began their training camp at the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministry football ground in Prospect for the opening tie against Liberia set for next week.

It also emerged last night that Ngezi Platinum Stars had barred their coach Tonderai Ndiraya from joining the Warriors to assist Mapeza.

Ndiraya was the assistant coach in the new set-up.

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Mapeza, who was handed the reins of the team on interim basis following the departure of Callisto Pasuwa earlier this year, has made several changes to the squad that participated at the recent Afcon tournament in Gabon.

The Warriors are looking to build on the success achieved by the previous group when they take part in the Group G of the qualifiers that also includes Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo (Brazzaville).

“For now we haven’t settled for anyone. We can only be able to do that when all the players are in camp. You would also need to talk to the individuals first before making the announcement,” said Mapeza.

The former Zimbabwe international is likely to pick the new skipper from the core that he retained from the previous squad that includes Marvelous Nakamba, Onismor Bhasera, Danny Phiri, Khama Billiat, Knowledge Musona, Evans Rusike and Tendai Ndoro for continuity.

None of them took part in the training session yesterday with Phiri, Ndoro and Nakamba expected to fly from Bulawayo late yesterday while Billiat, Bhasera and Musona are expected in camp next week.

Mapeza had his first training session with a batch of 15 mostly local players yesterday.

The former Zimbabwe international was happy with the players he has called for duty although he was apprehensive about the injuries to some of his personnel.

The 45-year-old was still expecting more foreign-based players last night with the likes of Netherlands based Nakamba, Phiri, Ndoro, Kuda Mahachi and George Chigova.

Ajax Cape Town defender Eric Chipeta, Thabani Kamusoko and Ovidy Karuru were the early birds among the foreign contingent.

Injured Caps United goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda and defender Dennis Dauda were not part of the squad.

Mapeza has since called in Dynamos defender Lincoln Zvasiya and Polokwane City goalkeeper Chigova to beef up his side.

“We are still to hear from the medical team on the conditions of Edmore Sibanda and Dennis Dauda. From what I heard they are carrying some knocks.

“If we get that report we will be able to make some changes. But already Zvasiya and George Chigova will be coming in. So we will see what happens because it’s going to be long.

“You never know what happens during the weekend because some guys have got Premiership games. But if it means everybody is fit then we will just carry on with those guys in camp,” said Mapeza.

The Caps United duo of Devon Chafa and Ronald Chitiyo will be released today to join their teammates in preparation for the Caf Champions League clash against Al Ahli Tripoli on Friday.

The Warriors will break camp on Thursday and resume on Monday when the preparations will go full throttle.

“Of course, as coaches we really don’t have enough time. But for now we have got roughly two weeks, at least people can group and know each other well. Then starting from next week Monday we really have to push.”

Defender Eric Chipeta, who missed the Afcon finals, was happy to be back in the fold. The Chronicle