Warriors to face Cote d’Ivoire in friendly match
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.