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National Under-23 football coach Kalisto Pasuwa is pinning hopes on Peter Ndlovu to convince South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns to release Kuda Mahachi for next Sunday’s All-Africa Games qualifier second round, first leg against Cameroon at home.

Ndlovu is the Sundowns team manager.

With the match falling outside the Fifa match calendar, foreign clubs are not keen to let their players travel for national duty. This has frozen out Mahachi, Macauley Bonne who turns out for English League One side Colchester United, as well as Marvelous Nakamba of Dutch Eredivisie outfit Vitesse.

Pasuwa says he contacted Ndlovu and pleaded with the former Warriors captain to sway his boss Pitso Mosimane to release Mahachi.

“I have talked to Peter and there are indications that Sundowns might give us Mahachi four days before the match. Peter has shown keenness to help us,” said Pasuwa.

“Mahachi being one of the senior players in the team, we thought he would bring in confidence. He was one of the best players at Chan [Africas Nations Championship] tournament last year. His absence would be a big blow on the offensive side of us.”

Pasuwa took over the Under-23 job from Ndlovu after he left to join Sundowns. Ndlovu could not be reached for comment last week while Sundowns communications and marketing manager Joe Latakgomo hinted at the club holding on to the winger.

“I am not going to comment on whether he is coming or not. But everything is clear that the match is out of the Fifa match calendar,” said Latakgomo.

With Cameroon being fierce opponents, Pasuwa is sweating for the foreign-based players.

He has given up on Nakamba while he still harbours hopes of having Bonne playing.

“Nakamba’s club have made it clear that he is not coming,” Pasuwa said.

“But I still have hopes that Bonne is coming as his club hinted that they could let him come just before the match. I really need him and I still have hopes, we might get them. Just like Mahachi, he is very offensive, as seen in that friendly match against Morocco. His absence would again be a blow to us in terms of attacking.”

Bonne of late has picked up form and has become a regular for Colchester. The English side’s media manager Matt Hudson however told Standardsport that the player will not be available for Cameroon.

“To the best of my knowledge, we received the request [for the player from Zifa] but, due to the games that we have coming up, Macauley will be staying with us this time,” said Hudson.

The Cameroon assignment has presented Pasuwa with a conundrum.

Cameroon set up their training base earlier than Zimbabwe and Pasuwa is complaining about the limited time he has had with his players. He had demanded a training camp since last December but Zifa indicated they had no money for that.

“Imagine our fitness level had we trained in December and the whole of January. We wanted to emphasise on conditioning the players in the gym since we are meeting physically superior opponents,” said Pasuwa.

“Most of our players are small-bodied so it was going to immensely help us working in the gym in the morning and then on the pitch in the afternoon during those months. Now we are forced to do integrated training where we simultaneously focus on fitness and tactics. The other disaantage we have is that most of our players have not been playing competitive games recently while the Cameroonians have been active since their league is running.”

The last time Cameroon visited Zimbabwe was eight years ago for the 2008 Olympic Games qualifiers. The West Africans held the then Misheck Chidzamwa’s Young Warriors 1-1 at Rufaro, before prevailing as 3-0 victors in the return leg in Yaoundeacute.

Featuring for Zimbabwe were the likes of Costa Nhamoinesu, Kingston Nkhatha, Peter and Patrick Mubaiwa, William Mapfumo, Carrington Gomba and Onismor Bhasera.

Two weeks after Sunday’s game, Zimbabwe travels to Cameroon for the return leg.

“Starting away was going to be better for us,” said Pasuwa.

“I have been telling the players that Cameroon are a physical team and very aggressive, so it is crucial to do the job here and ensure our life would be much easier when we go there. When we visit them we also have to be prepared for dirty tactics from Cameroon. The players should not expect kind treatment. The All-Africa Games are set for Congo Brazzaville from September 4 to 18 and Cameroon are the Young Warriors’ last hurdle before reaching the tournament.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard