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Kalisto Pasuwa plunges into battle this afternoon with a depleted troop of Young Warriors at Rufaro when the Zimbabwe Under-23s clash with Swaziland in their bid to secure a 2016 Olympic Games ticket.

This second round, first leg tie will see Pasuwa once again missing key players, as was the case in the African Games qualifiers in which the Young Warriors however remarkably defied odds to overpower the mighty Cameroon and secure a place at the games to be held in Congo Brazzaville in September.

But today’s game is a fresh test for the former Dynamos coach who has to run past Swaziland before meeting South Africa in the third and final qualification round for the African Under-23 Championship where the top three teams would earn a berth at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Dynamos duo of Blessing Moyo and goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva are not available, as well as Chicken Inn players Raphael Kutinyu and defender Lawrence Mhlanga.

Vice-captain Ronald Pfumbidzai is on trials at Danish Superliga side Hobro IK and has been replaced by new call-up Edwin Madhananga of Flame Lily.

Mamelodi Sundowns winger Kuda Mahachi is in the country but could not make it for camp due to family commitments while Zifa failed to secure an air ticket for Macauley Bonne who turns out for English League One side Colchester United.

Highlanders holding midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku is doubtful with a hamstring injury.

“Our challenge has been securing players from clubs and we have complained about that so many times but nothing is being done about it. We have to make do with what is there. We started our training with less than 10 players and on Thursday we had 16 and then all of a sudden clubs started calling back their players,” said Pasuwa.

Ten players in Pasuwa’s squad were part of the group that humbled Cameroon at home or in Yaoundeacute.

The former Warriors midfielder feels they should not take comfort in the fact that they triumphed over Cameroon under similar circumstances.

“In life you must not rely on luck every time,” he said.

“Maybe against Cameroon it was because these boys approached the match knowing that they were meeting one of the giants in Africa. They had self-motivation. Now we are talking about Swaziland and they might be thinking that we are facing a small side. That changes the approach to the game. It is a 50-50 situation where any side can win. As a coach, when I group up a team, even boozers, I do not want to be beaten. That is my attitude towards every match but again, having trained for a limited period, I can be haunted in terms of combinations.”

Swaziland might appear to be lightweight opponents but they have been training for the past three months preparing for this match while Pasuwa leads a squad that only started full training last Wednesday.

Captain Wisdom Mutasa feels they can again overcome the in-stability in their camp but warned his teammates against underestimating their opponents.

Mutasa immensely contributed in sinking Cameroon with his goal in the first leg, handing Zimbabwe aantage when they travelled to West Africa.

“I am confident we will do our best to win the game tomorrow [today],” said Mutasa.

“I know we are missing a number of players but those who are there can play and we can win. I understand Swaziland have been in camp for the past three months so we are approaching this game without underrating them since they appear organised. We are taking this game seriously. If we remain with the fighting spirit we had against Cameroon, I think we can qualify for the Olympics.”

Source : Zimbabwe Standard

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