War­riors to step into Lions’ den

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Petros Kausiyo Harare Bureau

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.

Cal­listo Pa­suwa

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