By Ellina Mhlanga
Young Warriors coach, Tonderai Ndiraya, is confident his charges stand a good chance when they take on hosts South Africa this afternoon.
The two teams clash in the COSAFA Under-20 Championships at Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Zimbabwe are in Group A, together with the hosts, Mozambique and Lesotho.
The match gets underway at 3.30pm.
The first match of the tournament is between Mozambique and Lesotho.
“This is a new game altogether, at a different level and, of course, which is going to be played under difficult times, so let’s see what happens tomorrow (today),’’ said Ndiraya.
“We are going into the match, with a lot of confidence, and let’s see what happens.
“We didn’t prepare as well as we might have wanted but, look, we are always confident, we are motivated by the opponents.
“Everyone wants to do well against South Africa and this crop of players is no different.
“They are really looking forward to the match and the boys will give everything to get a result tomorrow.
“In any tournament, if you win your first game, it means you have set a good tone.
“Hopefully we can win and set the right tone.’’
Ndiraya said he realised the mood among his players changed when they arrived in South Africa.
“The players are ready and mentally prepared for the match,’’ said the coach.
“The moment we touched down here, you could see the excitement, and the change in attitude, so they are very focused.
“We have a plan, we have to devise a way of playing, which is really going to go along with how we have prepared.
“So, we just have to do the job at hand and we are confident.
“We have quite a talented group of youngsters here, technically good.
“It’s the psychological, physical, and tactical part that we have really been working on.
“Hopefully, we will get the tactics right and get something out of our first game tomorrow.’’
Only the top team from each of the three groups, and the best runners-up, will proceed to the semi-finals.
Group B consists of Malawi, Comoros, Zambia, and Namibia.
Angola, Eswatini, and Botswana make up Group C.
Goalkeepers: Tendai Chirara (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Matripples Muleya (Bulawayo Chiefs)
Defenders: Tinotenda Muringai (Dynamos), Kelvin Mangiza (FC Platinum), Munashe Garananga (Ubuntu, South Africa), Malvern Hativagoni, Munashe Katondo (Ngezi Platinum Stars)
Midfielders: Sebastian Summerfield (Gateshead FC, England), Lexington Mujokoro (FMSA Umguza), Bernard Matsikidze (Highlands Park, South Africa), Brandon Nyagurungo (Caya Foot Academy, Senegal), Oscar Magejo (Academy Twenty 63), Takunda Mkunga, Bill Antonio (Prince Edward Academy), Panashe Mutimbanyoka (FC Platinum), Tendai Matindife (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Debbellar Mapuwa (Legends Academy).
Strikers: Munashe Pini (Chicken Inn), Tapiwa Mandinyenya (Aces Youth Academy). The Herald.