‘Fair draw for Young Warriors’
YOUNG Warriors coach Bekithemba Ndlovu believes they have been given a fair draw for the 2017 Cosafa Under-20 Championships to be held in Zambia next month.
The tournament is set for Kitwe from December 6-16, with teams using Nkana Stadium and Arthur
Davies Stadium. Zimbabwe, sixtime Cosafa Unde r - 2 0 Championships winners, are in Group C with Angola, Lesotho and Namibia. None of the Young Warriors’ opponents have ever won the title, giving Zimbabwe the favourites’ tag in the group.
“I think this is a fair draw. We can’t afford to relax because nowadays there are no small teams. What I’ve realised over the years is that most countries have developed. What we need is to up our preparations and make sure we get our players ready for the tournament,” said Ndlovu.
The Young Warriors last won the tournament in 2007.
Last year, Zimbabwe failed to go past the group stages in Moruleng, South Africa. The Young Warriors had a forgettable tournament, which included a heavy 5-1 defeat by eventual winners Zambia in their opening match and a 0-0 draw against Malawi.
The top teams in each group will advance to the semi-finals along with the best-placed runners-up.
Defending champions Zambia were drawn against Swaziland, East African guest nation Uganda and Malawi in Group A.
Group B has been termed the “group of death” and is made up of last year’s runners-up South Africa, North African guests Egypt, Mozambique and Mauritius.
Ndlovu said the team needs to be in camp for at least two weeks if it is to adequately prepare.
“Resources permitting, my wish is to camp for two to three weeks so that we embark on team building and get the players to understand the coaches’ philosophy,” he said.
Shortlisted Young Warriors players have been training in Bulawayo and Harare for about a week, with Ndlovu taking charge of sessions in the City of Kings while Mark Mathe and Mike Madzivanyika are responsible for training programmes in Harare.
Yesterday, Ndlovu’s charges made up of Premiership players such as Highlanders’ Bukhosi Ncube, the Bulawayo City duo of Thabo Lunga and Clive Rupiya, Bantu Rovers’ Nyasha Garayi as well as the How Mine pair of Nqobile Ndlovu and Tanaka Chanengeta held Bulawayo City to a 1-1 draw in a friendly match.
Ndlovu will be in Harare on Sunday to watch boys from the capital playing a friendly
against Black Rhinos. — @ZililoR