Warriors to step into Lions’ den
ZIMBABWE’S Warriors are being lined up for yet another blockbuster international friendly shortly before they begin their 2017 African Cup of Nations finals in Gabon with Callisto Pasuwa’s men set to face the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in Yaoundé on January 10.
It will be the Warriors’ final warm-up game before they begin their Nations Cup finals campaign with a Group B clash against North African giants Algeria in Franceville on January 15.
Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa, who is in Cameroon for a series of meeting with senior Confederation of African Football officials on the sidelines of the on-going Women African Cup of Nations, yesterday confirmed the highprofile game with the Cameroon Football Association.
The showdown with the Indomitable Lions also looks set to complete a busy schedule that is set to punctuate the Warriors training camp being pencilled in to begin on December 22.
Pasuwa’s men are also expected to play Africa’s Number One team Cote d’Ivoire in Abidjan on December 26, with another high-profile warm-up game being lined up against five-time African champions Egypt in Alexandria between 3-5 January before they fly off to Cameroon.
The Warriors are also set to play hosts Gabon while Chiyangwa has turned down an offer for a match against Libya.
Although the Warriors against the Pharaohs tie is still to be finalised, Chiyangwa confirmed yesterday that the game against the Indomitable Lions was on the cards.
The Warriors will face West African and North African opposition in Group B in Gabon with Senegal and Tunisia also being in the same pool.
In confirming the encounter, Chiyangwa was responding to a letter sent to him by Cameroon’s official match agent Joe Kamga.
Kamga indicated to Chiyangwa that Cameroon had offered full board accommodation for the Warriors delegation and suggested that Pasuwa and his troops could then fly direct from Yaoundé to neighbouring Gabon.
Cameroon, who have also qualified for the tournament in Gabon, will be in Group A that includes the hosts, Burkina Faso and Guinea-Bissau.
“After our conversation I address you this email to offer the possibility to play a friendly match between your ‘A’ Men national team and the national team of Cameroon of the same status on 10th January in Cameroon.
“The conditions of the match will be as follows:
“We can invite you for 4 days/3 nights, 32 persons in Cameroon in full board accommodation, local transportation, security, match logistics, visas etc.
“You will see below the authorisation of Cameroon FA. Please bear in mind that Cameroon could be the ideal pace to continue your preparation before going to Gabon since Yaoundé is 35 minutes flight to Gabon (Franceville) and you can go by bus (2h50) also as other teams camping in Cameroon will do. “Food, drinks and ingredients are the same in Cameroon. The weather is also the same in both countries. There is no team from your group camping in Cameroon so the discretion is guaranteed,’’ read part of the letter from Kamga. Warriors team manger Sharif Mussa welcomed the initiative taken by the Zifa president to ensure the senior team get adequate preparations ahead of the tough assignments they will face in Gabon. Despite being the Group B underdogs the Warriors have vowed to cause surprises at the continental soccer showpiece and playing against the likes of Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire will give them a reality check ahead of their clashes against Algeria, Senegal and Tunisia. Mussa, however, said they had asked Chiyangwa to discuss the possibility of bringing forward to January 7 or January 8 the clash between the Warriors and the Indomitable Lions. “We really welcome the warm up matches that are being organised for us as they form a key part of our preparations for the Nations Cup. “We, however, feel that the 10th January is too close to match day of our first assignments in Gabon and we have requested that the match be brought forward to the 7th, 8th or 9th to allow time to rest and recover for our first game against Algeria on Sunday 15 January 12017,’’ Mussa said.