‘Fair draw for Young War­riors’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Ricky Zililo

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

Bekithemba Ndlovu

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