Zimbabwe Under-20 national coach, Tonderayi Ndiraya, has named his final team which is expected to leave tomorrow for the Cosafa Championships at the Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa.
The Young Warriors meet the hosts Amajita, in the opening match, on Thursday.
The regional tournament runs from December 3 to 13 in Port Elizabeth.
The Young Warriors are in Group A together with South Africa, Lesotho and Mozambique.
The winner in the group proceeds to the semi-finals while the two finalists will also book their place to next year’s Under-20 Afcon finals.
“The boys have been idle for about nine months and to bring them back into shape, in 10 days, would be really difficult.
“Players get fit with more working hours. I am, however, happy that most of them had started early pre-season with their clubs and that gave us a good starting point.
“We will certainly compete with the levels of fitness the boys now have. We are going into the tournament with a lot of hope and, hopefully, we will get good results,” said Ndiraya.
South Africa have also named their final team for the tournament, which includes a number of players with top-flight football experience.
Amajita coach, Helman “Midnight Express” Mkhalele, has picked midfielder, Rowan Human, who plays for Israeli side Beitar Tel Aviv, on loan from Maccabi Tel Aviv, SuperSport United Oswin Appollis and Kaizer Chiefs Keletso Sifama, who have shone in Premiership colours.
“I am very happy with the squad that we have assembled for this year’s Cosafa tournament,” Mkhalele said.
“None of this would have been possible if it was not for the tremendous support we had received for various clubs in releasing their players for this camp.
“For that we are truly grateful as it enabled us with enough time to prepare and work with the players leading up to this crucial event.
“There are two things that we want to get out from this tournament. And that is: we want to qualify for next year’s U-20 Afcon tournament by reaching this year’s Cosafa final and also win the Cosafa Championship.”
“Most of our neighbouring countries come highly motivated to push for a win when they play against us at any level of football competitions.
“They just want to see themselves coming out with a win against us and we are very much aware of that.
“This tournament is not going to be any different. We are expecting a very difficult battle from our Group A opponents. However, we are also motivated to do well in this tournament.
“We have ticked all the boxes in our preparations and we are now looking forward for the battle that lies ahead.”
Leeroy Bill Antonio, Lexington Christiano Mujokoro, Oscar Magejo, Vanashe Menard Matsikidze, Leeroy Munashe Pini, Hilton Panashe Mutimbanyoka, Tapiwa Mandinyenya, Tanyaradzwa Tinotenda Benza, Malvern Hativagoni, Evans Shingirayi Binoni, Peter Munashe Garananga, Craig Tendayi Matindife, Kelvin Mangiza, Tadiwanashe Brandon Nyagurungo, Matripples Muleya, Peter Tinotenda Muringai, Ocean Munashe Katondo, Mcdonald Takunda Mkunga.
Tonderayi Ndiraya (coach), Mandla Mpofu (assistant coach), Nesbert Saruchera (assistant coach), Innocent Chogugudza (goalkeepers coach), Patrick Mutesva (team manager), Sheldron Patsika (physio), Mthokozisi Moyo (doctor), Sugar Chagonda (HOD). The Chronicle