By Eddie Chikamhi
Warriors’ all-weather friend Prophet Walter Magaya has hailed coach Sunday Chidzambwa for picking a ‘’Dream Team’’ for the COSAFA Cup and expects some of the players to attract the attention of international teams.
The football-mad prophet trained with the Warriors yesterday at his Yadah Sports Complex in Waterfalls, Harare, where he featured for his top-flight team, Yadah Stars, in a practice session with the senior national side.
Magaya has once again rolled out the red carpet for the Warriors who are staying at his hotel in Waterfalls ahead of their trip to South Africa tomorrow for the defence of their COSAFA Cup crown.
‘’For me, it’s one of the best teams that has ever been assembled here in Zimbabwe,’’ the prophet said.
‘’I saw their touch, I saw their play and the national team coaches are doing a very good job and the players who have been assembled could make a huge impression on some international scouts and teams at this tournament.
‘’Seeing the kind of players that we have in our team, it just feels good if you are someone who really wants to see them succeed when they represent our country, and it just gives me the inspiration to keep giving them a helping hand financially and morally whenever I can.
‘’I have always said it now and again that, for me, the Warriors are my number one side because they represent everyone who calls himself or herself a Zimbabwean and when they do well, they bring cheer to our country.
‘’That is why I will always support them, especially when you see such good coaches who want to do well for this nation.’’
Magaya said Chidzambwa was even charmed by his touch in their practice match the coach ended up extending an invitation to him to come and have a run, if he wanted, with the national team players before their departure to South Africa tomorrow.
‘’It’s an honour for me to be respected by the national team coach like that,’’ he said.
‘’It’s a privilege. It’s unfortunate that I am not fit enough to play (regularly) and I don’t want to be an embarrassment and to disturb a good team that the coach has assembled.
‘’My only obligation remains to support them by providing them with the camp and affording them whatever they need for their trip to be successful.’’
Last year, the then Warriors skipper Ovidy Karuru took some of the individual and team awards which they won at the COSAFA Cup to Magaya to thank him for the support he provided to them ahead of their adventure to South Africa.
Warriors manager Wellington Mpandare said midfielder Marvelous Nakamba had been checked by the team doctors who ruled him out through injury while Khama Billiat and Tino Kadewere were set to join camp last night.
Billiat has not played for the Warriors since featuring for them at the 2017 AFCON finals in Gabon where he charmed a number of neutrals with his performances.
An injury meant he missed the team’s opening 2019 AFCON qualifier against Liberia in June last year which the Warriors won 3-0 courtesy of a hat-trick from skipper Knowledge Musona.
The captain, who has switched clubs in Belgium and moved to giants Anderlecht, is expected in today although the Warriors talisman has been managing his appearances in Belgium as he makes his recovery from injury.
Defender Costa Nhamoinesu, who has also not featured for the Warriors since the AFCON finals in Gabon last year, is also expected in camp today. Chidzambwa said there were no pushovers at the COSAFA Cup.
“Of course, tournaments are always like that, there is good competition. I watched the (first) games and I thought both matches were very good games,’’ said the coach.
‘’Botswana did well to win against Angola, even Mauritius played well.
“It only shows that there are no pushovers in the COSAFA tournament. We need to keep focused.
“The good thing now is we have got almost everyone in camp except a few. The training is going on okay and we are going to pick our final 20 tomorrow (today) when we have assessed everyone.
“Of course, there have been reports of injuries here and there but we had picked a bigger squad with that in mind. So, we are quite okay with the numbers that we have.
“The team is shaping up quite well from the look of things and I just hope and pray that we will have a much stronger side for the AFCON qualifiers.’’
Karuru has been the class leader in the absence of Musona.
Egypt-based forward Abbas Amidu, Marshall Munetsi of Orlando Pirates, Talent Chawapihwa, Edmore Sibanda, George Chigova, Alec Mudimu among the foreign-based players in camp.
The Warriors, led by Chidzambwa, also visited the home of former Warriors midfielder and CAPS United coach Lloyd Chitembwe to convey their condolences following the death of his mother on Tuesday evening.
Warriors Provisional Squad
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs), Donovan Bernard (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Chang Mariyoni (Triangle).
Defenders: Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum), Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Jameson Mukombwe (FC Platinum), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Harare City), Costa Nhamoinesu (AC Sparta Prague), Divine Lunga (Chicken Inn).
Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates), Richard Hachiro (Herentals), Abbas Amidu (Entag El Harby), Talent Chawapihwa (Baroka), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah Stars), Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns), Ovidy Karuru (AmaZulu),
Strikers: Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht), Evans Rusike (Supersport United), Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens IF), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Ngezi Platinum Stars). The Herald