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Kawondera excited by Warriors romance

By Eddie Chikamhi

Last year’s Soccer Star of the Year finalist, Ralph Kawondera, is excited about being part of the band of local players who embarked on an intensive training camp yesterday in preparation for the CHAN tournament.

Ralph Kawondera
Ralph Kawondera

The Warriors have gone into camp with ZIFA still to name a team manager for the national team.

Wellington Mpandare was the team manager last year but ZIFA, in their review of the technical staff, invited others to apply for that position.

ZIFA president, Felton Kamambo, had said the team manager’s position would be filled before the Warriors get into camp.

Reports have indicated there are divisions within the ZIFA leaders about who should be the team manager.

One faction wants Mpandare to continue with his job while another appear reluctant to let him keep that job.

Kawondera was a surprise omission, when the initial squad was announced last week, despite having played a key role during the qualifiers last year.

The FC Platinum utility man, however, received a late call from new Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic to correct the oversight.

The 29-year-old had a decent season at Triangle last year, scoring 11 goals and also leading their charge in the CAF Confederation Cup, before he was snatched up by champions FC Platinum.

“I very happy to be party of the squad. I just want to thank the coaches for calling me into the squad,’’ he said.

‘‘I have been there before and I played some games during the qualifiers.

‘‘Those games helped me a lot because I learnt and gained experience as a player.”

The CHAN tournament is reserved exclusively for players in the domestic leagues and will be played in Cameroon between April 4-25.

Zimbabwe are making a fifth appearance at the tournament.

New Warriors coach, Loga, was forced to call for the 10-day training camp as the local league is only expected to start later this month.

The Warriors are lagging behind most of their rivals, in terms of preparations, as those teams have since started laying the foundations for the event which gets underway in the next four weeks.

The team will play, at least, three friendly matches against local clubs that are also preparing for the new season.

The Warriors technical team are then expected to finalise their travelling squad of 23 by the time the camp ends on March 19.

The final squad is expected to leave for Cameroon on April 1 ahead of the opening fixture against the Indomitable Lions on April 4.

Zimbabwe were drawn in group A together with hosts Cameroon, Mali and Burkina Faso.

“It is a good idea to have this 10-day training camp because we have a good opportunity to train together for some time.

‘‘The coaches get to see the combinations that work well so that when we go to the tournament we will be an organised and good squad.

“All we need to do is to follow our coaches’ training methods and game plan and try to work as a team,” said Kawondera.

Former Harare City forward, Grey Kufandada, who is now turning out for Talen Vision in the Southern Region Division One, has also been called up to the team to widen selection options upfront.

Loga felt it was critical to add more options to provide cover for possible injuries during the 10-day camp.

“We have decided to add more players in order to cushion ourselves in case any player is ruled out through injury.

“Injuries are common among players during this phase of the season (pre-season training) where players are exposed to heavy training,” Loga said.

Warriors Provisional CHAN squad

Goalkeepers: Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos) Ariel Sibanda (Highlanders) Nelson Chadya (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Talbert Shumba (Chapungu)

Defenders: Xolani Ndlovu (Chicken Inn) Qadr Amini (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Frank Makarati (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Partson Jaure (Dynamos) Peter Muduwa (Highlanders) Liberty Chakoroma (Chicken Inn) Ian Nekati (Chicken Inn) Rapheal Muduviwa (FC Platinum)

Midfielders: William Manondo (Harare City) Marlon Mushonga (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Moses Muchenje (Harare City) Devon Chafa (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Trevor Mavhunga (Triangle United) Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum) Phenias Bamusi (CAPS United) Juan Mutudza (Dynamos) King Nadolo (Dynamos) Wellington Taderera (Ngezi Platinum Stars) Ishmael Wadi (CAPS United) Valentine Kadonzvo (Chicken Inn) Kelvin Chibunyu (Cranborne Bullets)

Strikers: Prince Dube (Highlanders) Obriel Chirinda (Chicken Inn) Stanley Ngala (FC Platinum) Ralph Kawondera (FC Platinum). The Herald

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