Chidzambga in Cosafa squad headache
Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambga is this week expected to name two separate squads for the Cosafa Cup tournament and the friendly match against Nigeria following the scheduling of the friendly match against the Super Eagles on the same day on which the Cosafa final will be held in Durban.
However, due to the possibility of the Warriors, who are chasing a third successive Cosafa Cup title, progressing all the way to the final, Chidzambga will have to select two different teams for the Cosafa Cup and for Afcon preparations.
Warriors’ team manager Wellington Mpandare told StandardSport in an interview yesterday, a decision was yet to be made on whether to select two teams for the two assignments and the dilemma had caused the delay in the announcement of the Cosafa and the Afcon provisional squads.
“We are still waiting for Zifa to advise us whether there is going to be two separate teams or it’s going to be one team. But it looks like we may end up having two separate teams because we are likely going to reach the Cosafa final and not be able to fulfil the Nigeria fixture.
“Even if we were going to be eliminated in the quarter-finals, I don’t think there is enough time for the team to recover from the Cosafa tie,” Mpandare said.
Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela, however, hinted that two teams would be named for the respective assignments.
“We will (this) week make an announcement on the two teams which will play in the Cosafa Cup and the international friendly match against Nigeria,” Gwesela said.
Zifa had scheduled Cosafa as part of the preparations for the continental football extravaganza while friendly matches with Nigeria, Ghana and Morocco as well as a training camp in the United Arab Emirates have also been lined up.
Cosafa would have given Zifa a cheaper option for a training camp during the duration of the event and some mouth-watering clashes with some of the top sides in the region. Zimbabwe joins the competitions in the quarter-finals with a clash against the Group A winners.
The group includes favourites Angola, Mauritius, Eswatini and Comoros.
However, in an effort to ensure the Warriors are adequately prepared for the upcoming Afcon finals, Zifa are expected to prioritise the friendly matches against Nigeria, Morocco and Ghana while a development side would be named for the Cosafa tournament.
It’s the same decision taken by neighbours South Africa, whose coach Stuart Baxter announced last week that that he would name a squad of fringe players in the Cosafa Cup, while another team will travel to Dubai for heat acclimatisation and a friendly against Ghana.
Zimbabwe, who are competing in their fourth Afcon finals, were drawn in Group A with hosts Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
The Warriors will open their campaign with what appears a tough match against the hosts in the tournament opener on June 21, before playing Uganda five days later.
They will conclude their group matches with a tricky match against the DRC on June 30. — Standard