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THE national Under-23 technical side is still waiting for ZIFA to organise the team’s preparations ahead of their Africa Championships qualifier against Swaziland later this month.The Young Warriors have a busy schedule this year and are expected to open the season with a preliminary round clash against Swaziland in the qualifiers set for February 21-22.

The Under-23 Africa Championships are a stepping stone to the qualification for next year’s Olympics Games.

However, team manager, Patrick Mutesva, yesterday expressed fears they could be running out of time.

Mutesva said they needed to start preparing for their first assignment early as the coaches were still building a new team.

The Young Warriors begin their campaign away with the return leg scheduled for early March.

More difficult opponents like Senegal and South Africa lie in ambush if they pass the Swazi test.

“If you look at the dates for the first leg, there isn’t much time left for preparations. On paper it’s three weeks but in reality it’s something like two.

“Funds permitting, we would have loved to start our preparations earlier. However, nothing has really happened in terms of training or camping since we played that friendly match against Morocco last year.

“But we are hoping that soon something will be in place and we start training,” said Mutesva.

The technical team has long submitted their programme to ZIFA.

The Under-23 team is a fairly new side which was assembled last year by coaches Callisto Pasuwa and Saul Chaminuka.

The Young Warriors technical team had requested a week training camp in December but the association had no resources.

The coaches last year broadened their selection when they called up the England-based trio of Macauley Bonne, David Moyo and Munya Mbanje.

“Right now I cannot say there is a definite set of players who make the team because the coaches have been trying different players and different combinations.

“I am sure they need to have a second look at some of the players because when we played those friendly matches last year, the team would only train once or twice together.

“After the Morocco game, most of our players went to off-season break and there was virtually no activity. Obviously, form is affected but there is nothing we can do,” said Mutesva.

Zimbabwe’s hopes of featuring at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro rests with their success in the Under-23 Africa Championships as the top three finishers at the finals of the tournament this year will get automatic tickets for the 2016 Summer Games.

Source : The Herald