Sables face uphill task in Namibia
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.