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ZIMBABWE’S Warriors got their preparations for the 2015 COSAFA Cup off to a shambolic start with just nine players turning up for training, leaving coach Callisto Pasuwa a worried man.

The Warriors, four-time champions of the regional tourney, will get their campaign underway on Sunday with a date against Mauritius in the second of the tournament’s opening day double-header programme at the Moruleng Stadium in the North West Province.

It is the first time that the Warriors will be back in action since their embarrassing exit from the 2015 African Cup Nations qualifiers at the hands of Tanzania in June last year.

But the Warriors barely resembled a country’s flagship team, on their first day of training at Rufaro yesterday afternoon, with just eight on-field players and Harare City goalkeeper Tatenda Munditi doing business.

Pasuwa had earlier been forced to call off the morning session as he had only four players in camp.

Five more players trooped in and the coach had the ZPC Kariba pair of Raphael Manuvire and Thomas Magorimbo, Justice Jangano of Gunners, Highlanders’ Douglas Sibanda, gritty Chicken Inn midfielder Danny Phiri, Talent Chawapihwa of Harare City and the Flame Lily duo of Moses Demera and Raphael Kawondera. The former Dynamos coach was also not amused by the conduct of such players like Hardlife Zvirekwi and FC Platinum’s Marshal Mudehwe, who he said had been released for national duty by the miners on Sunday.

Former Dynamos goalkeeper George Chigova, who is now at SuperSport United in the ABSA Premiership and ex-Eagles forward Charlton Mashumba who has been one of the best players at Jomo Cosmos in the National First Division, are also expected to link up with the Warriors before they head to the North West province.

“The situation is worrying. We thought today we would have a full squad at training after letters of release were sent to the clubs but even the Harare based guys like Carlos Rusere (Dynamos) and Hardlife Zvirekwi (CAPS United) who should be here are not here. “Marshall Mudehwe was released by his club on Sunday and I don’t know why he is not yet in camp.

“It doesn’t matter whether there are problems you need to be disciplined and train first. I have always said that you play a game the way you would have trained so if you do not train hard don’t expect to do well on match day.

“Of course, it seems there was communication breakdown between some players, clubs and the ZIFA secretariat on whether camp would go ahead or not,” Pasuwa said.

Pasuwa, however, insisted that the Warriors could not afford to underrate Mauritius, Seychelles and Namibia whom they will meet in their preliminary group games.

“It doesn’t matter that it is Mauritius that we are playing, we need to train well and prepare or else we will be shocked.

“I think the COSAFA Cup gives us a chance to assess how best we can blend some of the players with the Under-23 and the senior guys as we try to come up with a g squad for the AFCON qualifiers. “We need a g base of players for our squad hence the need to have such tournaments like COSAFA”.

Pasuwa, whose assistant Saul Chaminuka will travel with the Warriors, said he was also aware that his players would need a great deal of motivation given ZIFA’s scant resources and the off-field problems haunting the association.

Source : The Herald