Sables face up­hill task in Namibia

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Bukhosi Man­gena Sports Cor­re­spon­dent

THE Sables prepa­ra­tions for next week­end’s crunch Africa Cup A1 away tie against Namibia got off to a false start after 11 key play­ers with­drew due to club com­mit­ments and in­juries.

Zim­babwe’s play­ers had been ex­pected to start camp on Thurs­day but due to un­avail­abil­ity of the bulk of the play­ers, coach Cyprian Man­denge said they will group in Harare to­mor­row.

French-based for­ward Farai Mu­dariki who turns out for Cas­tres and Martin Wolfenden who plays for English side Coven­try could not be re­leased by their clubs along­side An­tipas Kamwindo who plies his trade in Ger­many for TV Pforzheim.

Stud­ies have also ruled out Njabulo Ndlovu and Simba Mandi­wona who are stu­dents at Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg while Pi­eter Jourbert cited work com­mit­ments.

Man­denge said with­out a fully func­tional lo­cal league, the Sables tech­ni­cal team and se­lec­tors will have to do with mostly lo­cally based play­ers, in­clud­ing a few un­capped young­sters.

Last month the Sables used over­seas play­ers blended with a few lo­cally based play­ers to claim the two Africa Cup 1A vic­to­ries against heavy­weights Kenya and Tu­nisia at Harare’s Prince Ed­ward. a

Vitesse team that made it for Europa League, play­ing the two qual­i­fiers is sheer ev­i­dence of the hard work that I’ve put through dur­ing the pre-sea­son. Last sea­son I sat on the bench for most of the games but this time around, I’ve told my­self that I need to work hard and make sure that I don’t get rel­e­gated to the bench,” said Nakamba. Vitesse open their 2015-16 league ac­count with an away tie against Willem II to­mor­row. The for­mer Njube High School pupil also ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment at the Young War­riors’ fail­ure to progress to the CAF African Un­der-23 Cham­pi­onships that could have led the team to next year’s Olympics. “Ob­vi­ously I’m dis­ap­pointed that the Young War­riors were knocked out but I be­lieve the guys did their best. We’ve a fairly good side and what’s needed is for Zifa to or­gan­ise friendly matches dur­ing Fifa cal­en­dar dates so that we get used to play­ing to­gether. I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to rep­re­sent­ing my coun­try in the next as­sign­ments, pro­vided I’m still in the coaches’ plans,” Nakamba said.

Man­denge said it is go­ing to be hard for them in Namibia.

“We’re go­ing to face an up­hill task as we all know that the Namib­ians are the team to beat. We would have loved to start camp on Thurs­day but the play­ers ex­cused them­selves with most of the over­seas based play­ers say­ing their clubs wouldn’t release them. I know that the ZRU are do­ing all they can to make sure that we go into camp as soon as pos­si­ble and I be­lieve by Sun­day we’ll be train­ing with those that are avail­able,” said Man­denge.

Sables cap­tain Den­ford Mu­ta­man­gira who is on the books of Dur­ban based side Sharks which is par­tic­i­pat­ing in South Africa’s do­mes­tic league, the Cur­rie Cup is ex­pected in Harare this af­ter­noon along­side team­mate Ri­aan O’Neill. The two Sharks play­ers watched the Cur­rie Cup kick off last night.

Le­nience Tamb­w­era, Sanele Sibanda, For­tune Chipendo and An­drew Rose are ex­pected to be among the play­ers to lead the Sables in Namibia.

Bise­lele Tshamala and Tan­gai Ne­madire who are not new to na­tional team setup are key fig­ures in Man­denge’s squad.

While Zim­babwe have had a shoddy start to their prepa­ra­tions, Namibia will have the com­fort of a full-strength squad after their na­tional as­so­ci­a­tion man­aged to ne­go­ti­ate with South Africa based clubs for release of their play­ers for the Sables tie.

Mar­velous Nakamba

Bise­lele Tshamala

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