Coach pro­poses one month camp for Young War­riors

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Sikhum­buzo Moyo Se­nior Sports Re­porter

ZIM­BABWE Un­der-20 na­tional team coach Mandla ‘Lulu’ Mpofu wants a one month camp for the Young War­riors as they pre­pare for the 2016 edi­tion of the PPC spon­sored Cosafa Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onship to be held in South Africa’s North West prov­ince from De­cem­ber 7-16.

The tour­na­ment makes a wel­come re­turn hav­ing been last held in 2013 where South Africa beat Kenya 2-0 to take gold while Zim­babwe were pipped to bronze by An­gola by the same score­line.

“We have sent our pro­gramme to Zifa but ideally I feel we will get enough time if we start camp from Novem­ber 7, a month from the start of the fi­nals,” said Mpofu.

Dur­ing the draw in South Africa on Wed­nes­day, Zim­babwe were drawn into a three-team Group B to­gether with Zam­bia and Malawi.

Cham­pi­ons and hosts South Africa have Le­sotho, Swazi­land and Botswana in Group A while Group C con­tains An­gola, Namibia, Sey­chelles and Mau­ri­tius.

Group D has Mozam­bique, Co­moros Is­lands and East African guest na­tion Rwanda, who com­pete in the place of Mada­gas­car.

Mpofu de­scribed chal­leng­ing.

“Its good that the tour­na­ment makes a re­turn be­cause it gives these young­sters ex­po­sure and op­por­tu­nity, we just need to have proper prepa­ra­tions,” said the for­mer High­landers as­sis­tant coach.

He said play­ers have al­ready been iden­ti­fied but an an­nounce­ment will only be done to­wards camp days.

The teams will play each other in a round-robin for­mat with the top sides from each pool ad­vanc­ing to the semi­fi­nals.

One twist is that the top teams in Groups B and D af­ter the sec­ond round of matches will play a third game as a cross­over fix­ture be­tween those two pools to en­sure that most com­pet­ing sides get to play three times.

The top team in Group B will play the sec­ond team in Group D and vice-versa.

The group matches start on De­cem­ber 7 and will be com­pleted on De­cem­ber 13. The semi­fi­nals will take place a day later, be­fore the re­main­ing teams en­joy a rest day.

The third-place play-off and fi­nal of the com­pe­ti­tion will both be played on De­cem­ber 16, which is a pub­lic hol­i­day in South Africa.

Two venues, the Mog­wase Sta­dium and Moru­leng Sta­dium will be used for the tour­na­ment with the lat­ter be­ing used ex­clu­sively from the semi­fi­nals on­wards.

Zam­bia have been the most suc­cess­ful side in the his­tory of the Cham­pi­onships with 10 vic­to­ries to their name, fol­lowed by Zim­babwe with six. South Africa have claimed five ti­tles with Mada­gas­car the only other team to lift the tro­phy af­ter their 2005 tri­umph.

In the last edi­tion of the tour­na­ment in 2013, Zim­babwe beat Swazi­land 2-1 through goals by Wal­ter Mu­sona and Teenage Hadebe in their first match be­fore drilling three goals with­out re­ply past Botswana. Car­los Rusere, Lib­erty Chako­roma and Mu­sona were on tar­get. Their last qual­i­fi­ca­tions round saw them draw­ing 1-1 with Mozam­bique with now Swe­den­based Tino­tenda Kadewere on tar­get for the Young War­riors.

The per­for­mance was enough to see Zim­babwe qual­i­fy­ing for the semi­fi­nals where they lost 4-2 to South Africa on penal­ties. the draw for Zim­babwe as

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