Home » Sports » Warriors Preparations Off to False Start

ZIMBABWE coach Ian Gorowa will be hoping that the Warriors can step up their act today after their preparations for the decisive African Cup of Nations qualifier against Tanzania got off to a slow, if not frustrating, start in the capital yesterday.The Warriors will host the Taifa Stars in a first round, second leg qualifier at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday, needing to overhaul a 1-0 deficit they suffered in the reverse fixture in Dar es Salaam.

That result has sparked a wave of pressure on the Warriors to turn on the power on the East Africans at home on Sunday and avoid the huge embarrassment that would come with an early exit from the Nations Cup qualifiers.

But with some of his players still making their way into camp after fulfilling various club commitments at the weekend, Gorowa could only arrange a “run around with 11 players” who had turned up in time for the afternoon training at Gateway High School.

Players like skipper Partson Jaure, goalkeeper George Chigova, midfielder Stephen Alimenda and assistant coach Callisto Pasuwa were among those who missed the first day of training as they were making their way from Chiredzi, where they had travelled on club duties with Dynamos for a Premiership assignment.

Wonder Kapinda and Talent Chawapiwa featured for Black Rhinos and Harare City respectively at Rufaro yesterday.

Highlanders’ winger Kuda Mahachi was also missing amid indications that he had travelled to South Africa last Friday on business related to his move to Mamelodi Sundowns and was only expected back late last night.

Mahachi also missed Bosso’s league game against Buffaloes in Mutare.

“Some of the guys are still making their way into camp after playing for their clubs so it is too early to judge what the situation is like,” said Gorowa.

“We hope to step things up tomorrow and Wednesday so it is too early to say much now. We organised a run around today just to get into the moods and loosen up.” Gorowa will also only be able to have a look at Biest Wits midfielder Denver Mukamba from today after the former Dynamos man joined camp in the evening.

The Warriors coach had also been hoping to meet with Willard Katsande but both team manager Shariff Mussa and Gorowa said they were told the Kaizer Chiefs midfield gman was in his hometown of Mutare and now expected to come to the capital today.

“There is no decision yet on Willard because we did not meet with him today, he did not come as he had promised, I understand he is in Mutare so we will get a clearer picture on everything from tomorrow,” Gorowa said.

The Warriors gaffer said he would also get a report from team doctor Nick Munyonga, who is expected to ascertain the extent of the ankle injury that midfielder Peter Moyo suffered while playing for Highlanders in their 3-1 triumph over Buffaloes at Sakubva.

Moyo lasted just 26 minutes of that game before he was stretched off and replaced by Welcome Ndiweni.

Mussa also said they were by last night, still trying to establish when recalled striker Edward Sadomba would be able to join camp.

Sadomba was on target for his Libyan club Al Ahly Benghazi in a 3-2 victory over CSfaxien of Tunisia in a Champions League group stage game in Tunisia on Saturday night and Mussa said the veteran striker had been expected to return to Libya with his team before proceeding to Harare.

“From the 18 that travelled to Tanzania we now have Denver, and the third goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya joining camp and we are expecting Ovidy Karuru to arrive tonight,” said Mussa.

“We are also trying to establish when Sadomba will be arriving because there are indications that he may come in on Wednesday or possibly Thursday morning and the coach would also have to make a decision on the cut of day by which players coming from outside the country would have to be in.

“So if Sadomba and Karuru arrive and if Katsande is given the green light to join camp, then we will have 23 players in camp and that is also if Peter Moyo’s injury would not have resulted in him ruled out and having to leave camp.”

Karuru posted on his Facebook page on Saturday that he was now in Harare.

The Warriors would also have to shake off the pressure they suddenly find themselves under following their lacklustre show in the first leg.

Yesterday’s slow start to preparations was, however, not the ideal situation that Gorowa would have loved especially in view of the fact that the coach had even unsuccessfully lobbied for a postponement of Premiership matches in order to have more time to work on the weaknesses he detected in Dar es Salaam.

While the Warriors are expected to move into gear today, reports from Dar es Salaam indicate that the Taifa Stars are taking a cautious approach to the decisive encounter despite taking a slight aantage into Sunday’s match at the National Sports Stadium.

A 13th minute strike by striker John Bocco gave the Tanzanians a surprise win in the first leg in Dar es Salaam and left their new coach — Dutchman Mart Nooji — and his charges fancying their chances of an upset and a possible second round date against either of Mozambique or South Sudan, although it is the Mambas with a healthy 5-0 lead, who are virtually assured of progressing.

Nooji and his men will step up their preparations for the clash against the Warriors by taking on Malawi’s Flames in a friendly match in Dar es Salaam this afternoon. It is the second meeting between the two sides inside a month after their first friendly ended goalless in Mbeya.

Then, as now, the East Africans were preparing for their encounter with the Warriors and today the Taifa Stars will be hoping to fine-tune their preparations with another date against the Flames, who are using the encounter as a build-up for their own Nations Cup qualifying assignment against Chad in Ndjamena.

Today’s match between the Taifa Stars and the Flames will be Tanzania’s third friendly match inside a month.

Towards the end of last month, the Taifa Stars fell to a 3-0 defeat at hands of Burundi at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam before playing the goalless draw against Malawi in Mbeya in Nooji’s first assignment with the East Africans.

Now indications are that the Taifa Stars, who are scheduled to arrive in the capital on Friday, are eager to, at least, fight for draw and stay on course for a return to the Nations Cup stage where they last featured in 1980, when Nigeria hosted and won the biennial continental soccer showpiece.

Nooji, however, warned against placing too much expectations before the battle in Harare is concluded with the Dutchman acknowledging that the Warriors had the pedigree to make life difficult for them and overturn the deficit. The Taifa Stars coach has also had a previous encounter with the Warriors when he was still in charge of Mozambique.

Source : The Herald