Coach proposes one month camp for Young Warriors
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