By Mehluli Sibanda
A squad of 23 locally based players is expected to assemble in Harare today for the final African Nations Championship preparations ahead of next month’s tournament to be played in Cameroon.
Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic was yesterday expected to settle on his 23 players to get into the final leg of preparations for the tournament reserved for only those playing in their respective country’s domestic leagues.
The Warriors were last week given time off to be with their families and will regroup today in the capital city, with chances high that those called up for the final camp are the same who are heading off to Cameroon.
Practice matches were arranged for the Warriors while they were in camp against some of the Premier Soccer League teams such as Bulawayo Chiefs, Dynamos, Ngezi Platinum Stars, Herentals, FC Platinum, Manica Diamonds and Caps United.
During the course of the practice matches, Logarusic dropped Phineas Bamusi, Valentine Musarurwa, William Manondo, Collins Duwa, Xolani Ndlovu and Valentine Kadonzvo from the squad then called up Denver Mukamba, Carlos Mavhurume, Tafadzwa Jaravani, Richard Hachiro, Ronald Chitiyo as well as Munyaradzi Diro Nyenye.
Warriors team manager, Wellington Mpandare said the final squad has to be submitted to the Confederation of African Football on 6 January, which is 10 days before the start of the tournament.
“A squad of 23 players is getting into camp on Sunday, the final list has to be submitted 10 days before start of tournament,’’ said Mpandare.
There are plans for the Warriors to play friendly matches before the start of Chan but Mpandare indicated that nothing has materialised so far. Namibia, Rwanda, Congo Brazzaville are the countries being lined up as opponents for the Warriors as they fine tune for Chan.
If the friendly matches do not happen, the Warriors are scheduled to leave for Cameroon on 11 January, five days prior to the start of the tournament.
Zimbabwe will play against Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mali in the group stage of the competition. Two of their matches are in the Cameroonian capital city of Yaoundé while their last group match is in Douala. The Chronicle