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ZIMBABWE have commenced preparations for the forthcoming Cosafa Cup tournament, which gets underway in the North West Province, South Africa at the weekend.

Team manager Charles Mukaronda told Goal that 15 of the 20 players called into camp had turned up by Tuesday evening.

Four-time champions Zimbabwe, traditionally regional heavyweights, will this year start the event at the preliminary stage after tumbling down the Fifa rankings over the past two years.

They have been drawn in Group A along with Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius, whom they play in their first match on Sunday.

A challenging quarter-final date against champions Zambia awaits, should Zimbabwe emerge from their pool in what would be a re-run of last year’s final, which ended 2-0 in favour of Chipolopolo.

Zimbabwe coaches, led by Kalisto Pasuwa, have been hamstrung in their selection by a requirement not to call-up more than two players from one team to avoid disrupting the local league.

Furthermore, exciting Dynamos midfielder Ronald Chitiyo and inform Chicken Inn marksman Edmore Chirambadare have been dropped from the original list, apparently at the behest of their clubs.

The coaches have also been unable to include members of the U-23 team, who play Swaziland in an Olympic qualifier next week.

Concentrating on duties with the Under 23 squad … Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa

Pasuwa himself, will miss the early stages of the event as he concentrates on the Olympic team, with his assistant Saul Chaminuka holding the fort in South Africa.

Absa premiership side SuperSport United’s reserve goalkeeper George Chigova and little known Jomo Cosmos striker Charlton Mashumba are the only foreign-based players called-up.

Mukaronda is however, putting on a brave face: “My philosophy is making the most with the team that you have got … because whosoever is playing is a Zimbabwean who is worth his salt and who is craving for that opportunity.”

Harare City winger Talent Chawapiwa is expected to provide some penetration on the wing, while free-scoring ZPC Kariba midfielder Raphael Manuvire should add some flair and invention in midfield.

Zimbabwe squad:

Goalkeepers: George Chigova, Tatenda Munditi, Bernard Donovan.

Defenders: Hardlife Zvirekwi, Kelvin Moyo, Ralph Kawondera, Justice Jangano, Douglas Sibanda.

Midfielders: Danny Phiri, Livingstone Genti, Tinashe Chipunza, Raphael Manuvire, Marshal Mudehwe, Thomas Magorimbo, Evans Rusike.

Forwards: Pritchard Mpelele, Talent Chawapiwa, Carlos Rusere, Moses Demera, Charlton Mashumba.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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