Pa­suwa an­nounces Af­con 2017 squad

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Grace Chin­goma Harare Bureau

WAR­RIORS coach Cal­listo Pa­suwa will to­day give an in­di­ca­tion of the play­ers he wants for the 2017 Na­tions Cup fi­nals show­case in Gabon when he an­nounces his squad for two high-pro­file friendly in­ter­na­tion­als against Zam­bia and Tanzania.

Zifa pres­i­dent Philip Chiyangwa has se­cured a friendly in­ter­na­tional against Chipolopolo on Satur­day at the Na­tional Sports Sta­dium and an­other bat­tle against Tanzania, at the same venue, a week later.

Chiyangwa, who has been in Jo­han­nes­burg in the past two days ty­ing up the loose ends for the friendly in­ter­na­tion­als, said he had now se­cured the matches against Zam­bia, who are play­ing in the 2018 World Cup qual­i­fiers, and Tanzania.

“That is a done deal and it’s good for us to play a coun­try like Zam­bia, who have won the Af­con tour­na­ment be­fore, and have al­ways given us a good run for our money when­ever we meet them,” said Chiyangwa.

“They are ranked higher than us and are con­sid­ered, by the Fifa rank­ings, to be a stronger foot­ball na­tion than us but we know that our team is get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter and that is why we are the only coun­try from South­ern Africa who will be in Gabon.

“We have done our part, to get a friendly or two, and it’s now up to the fans to come in huge num­bers so that they sup­port their play­ers and also en­sure we ac­crue some­thing from the gates be­cause it’s a very ex­pen­sive ex­er­cise to host a friendly in­ter­na­tional.

“We are also thrilled that we are play­ing Tanzania who beat us in the 2015 Af­con qual­i­fiers and have one of the hottest African strik­ers play­ing in Bel­gium, just like us.

“I have al­ready spo­ken to the coach about the two matches and given him the go-ahead to name his team and the cap­tain Wil­lard Kat­sande says he is ready to play for his coun­try be­cause such prepa­ra­tions are key.”

With the Premier Soc­cer League al­ready on break, this week, to pave way for the Chibuku Su­per Cup fi­nal be­tween FC Plat­inum and Ngezi Plat­inum Stars at Baobab on Sun­day, the in­ter­na­tional match against Zam­bia will not af­fect the PSL pro­gramme.

This week­end has been re­served on the Fifa cal­en­dar for of­fi­cial and friendly matches.

And with Zim­babwe not in­volved in the World Cup qual­i­fiers, which get un­der­way next week­end, Zifa have moved in to fully utilise the Fifa dates by host­ing two high-pro­file matches.

Zifa act­ing sec­re­tary-gen­eral Joseph Ma­mutse has al­ready writ­ten to Zam­bian FA boss An­drew Ka­manga con­firm­ing the high-pro­file friendly in­ter­na­tional.

“Fol­low­ing your dis­cus­sion with our pres­i­dent Dr Chiyangwa, the Zim­babwe Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion do hereby con­firm an in­ter­na­tional friendly match as fol­lows — Date: Satur­day, 5th Novem­ber 2016; Venue: Na­tional Sports Sta­dium, Harare; Kick-Off Time; 1500 Hours; Turf: Nat­u­ral Grass.

“The As­so­ci­a­tion will pro­vide your team with full board ac­co­mo­da­tion, lo­cal trans­port and all lo­cal re­quire­ments while you cover air tick­ets,” wrote Ma­mutse.

The two matches will see the War­riors re­turn to ac­tion for the first time since they played Guinea in the last Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fy­ing round in Con­akry in Septem­ber.

Last month the As­so­ci­a­tion put to waste an­other Fifa friendly match date but Zifa have en­sured Pa­suwa gets down to se­ri­ous busi­ness with the two matches mark­ing the start of prepa­ra­tions for the Af­con tour­na­ment.

The coach will use the two matches to as­sess all the play­ers he may be con­sid­er­ing for the Gabon ad­ven­ture.

Highly-rated play­ers like Burn­ley right­back Tendai Darikwa have ex­pressed will­ing­ness to be part of the Af­con team and Pa­suwa might use the two matches to have a closer look at some of the play­ers who missed out on the qual­i­fiers.

Last week War­riors team man­ager Sharif Mussa said Darikwa, de­spite turn­ing down ear­lier na­tional team call-ups due to dif­fer­ent ex­cuses, has reached out to them and in­di­cated he is ready to play for his coun­try at the tour­na­ment.

The Zim­babwe tech­ni­cal team have been track­ing the 24-year old de­fender and an­other Eng­land based full­back Bren­dan Gal­loway, who ap­pears to have made his mind to play for Eng­land af­ter re­ceiv­ing call-ups to the Three Lions Un­der-21 team.

Some of his reg­u­lar for­wards ap­pear in good form with for­wards Knowl­edge Mu­sona, Nyasha Mushekwi and Mathew Rusike banging in those goals

On Sun­day, Rusike was on tar­get for Hels­ing­borg when they beat Falken­berg 4-1.

Mu­sona has also been get­ting goals for K.V. Oos­tende in Bel­gium while Nyasha Mushekwi re­cently fin­ished as the sec­ond best goal scorer in Chi­nese League One af­ter scor­ing 19 goals in his de­but sea­son.

Neigh­bours Zam­bia an­chor the bot­tom of their World Cup qual­i­fy­ing group which also have Nige­ria, Cameroon and Al­ge­ria.

They lost the open­ing qual­i­fier against a star-stud­ded Nige­rian side that in­cluded Ar­se­nal’s Alez Iwobi and Man­ches­ter City’s Kelechi Iheana­cho who scored in that 2-1 vic­tory for the Su­per Ea­gles.

Only Nige­ria and Zim­babwe have beaten Zam­bia in an in­ter­na­tional match in Ndola since 1969.

Cal­listo Pa­suwa

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