War­riors to face Cote d’Ivoire in friendly match

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Sports Re­porter

ZIM­BABWE'S prepa­ra­tions for the 2017 Na­tions Cup fi­nals have re­ceived a big boost as they have se­cured a high-pro­file in­ter­na­tional friendly match against African cham­pi­ons Cote d'Ivoire be­fore the end of the year.

Zifa pres­i­dent Philip Chiyangwa yes­ter­day re­vealed the War­riors will play The Ele­phants on De­cem­ber 26 in Abid­jan.

The lo­cal foot­ball au­thor­i­ties are look­ing to take ad­van­tage of the hol­i­days to en­sure the War­riors have a good test be­fore the con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball jam­boree in Gabon be­tween Jan­uary 14 and Fe­bru­ary 5.

Zim­babwe coach Cal­listo Pa­suwa be­gins his prepa­ra­tions to­mor­row when he leads a group of lo­cal-based play­ers, out to make a case for them­selves, in a game against Zam­bia at the Na­tional Sports Sta­dium.

An­other in­ter­na­tional friendly against Tan­za­nia has been set for next week when the tech­ni­cal team hope to blend the lo­cal-based play­ers and the for­eign-based con­tin­gent for proper as­sess­ment. Chiyangwa said funds per­mit­ting, they were keen to ar­range more matches for the team be­fore they de­part for Gabon. “It’s those kind of prepa­ra­tions we must al­ways make and this is the op­por­tu­nity to do so. We must con­tinue to have more and more matches s ince foot­ball has more fol­low­ers," said Chiyangwa.

“Other spon­sors, who are be­gin­ning to knock the door now, can be able to stay with us per­ma­nently be­cause if there are no matches there is noth­ing to spon­sor, that’s what they are say­ing.

“So we have to cre­ate some form of ac­tion as far as this is con­cerned. We will have more friendlies com­ing up de­pend­ing on the avail­abil­ity of our play­ers.

“We will play Cote d’Ivoire on De­cem­ber 26. I have had to agree to the Cote d’Ivoire match be­cause it is flex­i­ble in that it is just about Christ­mas time, on Box­ing Day.

“Many of our foot­ballers would have come home and the coach will have a wider se­lec­tion base. Pos­si­bly the same team he chooses is that one that’s go­ing to Af­con.

“You know Cote d’ Ivoire are right there at the top of the lad­der in terms of world rank­ings. So we would want to start play­ing those teams that are way above us."

Zim­babwe, who are tak­ing part at the Af­con tour­na­ment fi­nals for the third time, were drawn in a tough Group B and will play giants Sene­gal, Al­ge­ria and Tu­nisia.

They will carry the South­ern Africa flag as they are the only team to make it from the re­gion.

Philip Chiyangwa

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