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THERE was still no joy for Zimbabwe Under-23 coach Callisto Pasuwa ahead of the Young Warriors’ All-Africa Games qualifier against Cameroon with several key players absent from training yesterday amid revelations that their Premiership clubs are reluctant to release them.

Zimbabwe host Cameroon at Rufaro on Sunday as they begin their battle to qualify for the All-Africa Games.

But the Young Warriors’ preparations have been shambolic with Pasuwa looking likely to be forced to field a weakened team as he cannot get the local and foreign players he would have preferred for this match.

Pasuwa has since last year been battling to secure adequate time to prepare the Young Warriors but the former Dynamos coach has met with one frustration after another.

Despite Zimbabwe having received a bye into the second round following the withdrawal of Swaziland last month, the Young Warriors have not felt the benefits of their walkover into the next round.

Chaos has characterised their preparations and a frustrated Pasuwa yesterday painted a gloomy picture of the scenario obtaining at the camp at ZRP Support Unit at Chikurubi.

Pasuwa, who has also been tasked with leading Zimbabwe’s charge for a place at the 2016 Olympic Games with the same side, was last Friday forced to abort camp after local clubs withdrew their players to focus on pre-season friendlies, leaving him with just four players at training.

It was a similar tale yesterday with Pasuwa being forced to work out with fringe players he has called up while those he was looking to build his team from continued to be conspicuous by their absence from camp yesterday.

The 2015 Castle Lager Premiership will burst into life on Friday when Harare City face newboys Tsholotsho at Rufaro while there are also matches on Saturday and Sunday across the country and most of the PSL clubs with national Under-23 players have opted to hold onto their men.

With ZIFA, virtually overwhelmed by a plethora of problems seemingly unable to not stamp their foot down to ensure the Young Warriors technical crew is fully supported in their endeavours, it has been left to Pasuwa to try and convince the club coaches to help him.

But, as if taking a cue from CAPS United, who were the first club to refuse to release their players through English coach Mark Harrison last week, FC Platinum yesterday took a similar stance and held onto Young Warriors skipper Wisdom Mutasa and his teammates.

FC Platinum returned yesterday from Tanzania where they suffered a 1-5 mauling at the hands of Young Africans in a Confederation Cup first round, first leg encounter.

The Platinum miners, Pasuwa said, had indicated before their departure for Dar es Salaam that they would release Mutasa and his colleagues for national duty upon their return from Tanzania.

But Pasuwa said his FC Platinum counterpart Norman Mapeza had a change of heart and was singing a different tune yesterday and insisted that he was no longer releasing the quartet of Walter Musona, Elvis Moyo, Emmanuel Mandiranga and Mutasa.

In fact, so gloomy is the scenario in the Young Warriors camp that Pritchard Mpelele is the only striker at Pasuwa’s disposal at the moment.

“If you recall we wanted to start our preparations as early as December last year just after the end of the Premiership season and nothing materialised.

“Now since we regrouped, we have had to use different players every time.

“We are struggling to get players together because their clubs keep withdrawing them and others like How Mine even claimed their goalkeeper Donavan Bernard is injured but the player was in action against Highlanders (in the ZNA Charity Shield) on Sunday.

“If we are struggling to get a team together at home what about when we do have to travel to Cameroon?

“At the moment we are training with mostly the replacement players that we had called up but we have don’t have time now for combinations,” Pasuwa said.

The Young Warriors coach has already failed to secure his foreign continent that includes England-based Macauley Bonne, who turns out for Colchester United, Mamelodi Sundowns’ Kuda Mahachi, Munyaradzi Mbanje, David Moyo and Marvellous Nakamba.

ZIFA chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaidze, said he had been alerted of the problems the coaches were having with players and indicated that he met PSL chairman Twine Phiri over the matter.

“I heard of the complaints in camp and I met with Twine today in his capacity as PSL chairman because we want an amicable solution to this situation so he promised to address the matter by tomorrow.

“It is not as if the PSL were not aware of the match because it has been on the calendar that we gave them a long time ago,” Mashingaidze said.

Phiri last night said he had tasked the PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele to handle the issue.

Meanwhile, Senegal have accepted a request from the Confederation of African Football to host the 2015 African Under-23 Championship in December, replacing the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It follows a meeting on Friday between Senegal President, Macky Sall, and the CAF president Issa Hayatou.

Source : The Herald