NEW Warriors coach Charles Mhlauri is likely to make several changes to the team that lost to Nigeria last month, with the Caps United duo of Cephas Chimedza and Leonard Tsipa tipped to start ag
ainst Angola in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
Mhlauri could also make a few positional changes that include drafting captain Peter Ndlovu into the midfield, while speedy Joel Lupahla plays as a central striker in the do-or-die encounter at Cidadela Stadium in Luanda.
Mhlauri and his assistant Moses Chunga as well as technical advisor Marc Mertens were yesterday working on combinations and formula ahead of the crucial 2006 joint World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifier.
Israel-based goalminder Energy Murambadoro is set to bounce back after staying on the bench during the match against Nigeria in which Tapuwa Kapini conceded three goals.
The technical team was still gambling by late yesterday on the right flank, where the option of starting Bekithemba Ndlovu or David Sengu was being considered.
Ndlovu has an advantage in marking and recovering over Sengu, attributes which could be vital against the fast and combative Angolans. Sengu is however a better ball player and effective on overlaps. Ndlovu, who was used in that position by former coach Rahman Gumbo against Nigeria, showed shortcomings in attack.
Chimedza, arguably the best player on the local scene this season, is likely to be given the left back responsibility, for which Mhlauri was emphasising during training the need to venture into the opponents’ half.
Zvenyika Makonese has been marshalling the defence well during training, partnering Dumisani Mpofu at the centre.
Esrom Nyandoro was still having problems with his injured toe yesterday and at times had to sit out training sessions, forcing the technical team to try the gangling Shadreck Malunga for the anchorman’s position.
The likelihood of skipper Ndlovu playing as an attacking right midfielder is a decision Mhlauri said was based on the consideration of his abilities as a ball player. His speed could also be relied upon in breaking away on the right flank.
The combative Tinashe Nengomasha is expected to be pushed forward to avoid the duplication of roles that he has been doing with Nyandoro and will be attacking from the centre of the midfield.
Charles Yohane is likely to be slotted into the attacking left midfield position ahead of Edzai Kasinauyo.
The speed of Tsipa and Lupahla upfront is expected to stretch the Angolan defenders as the Warriors seek to bring their campaign back on track after the humiliating 0-3 loss at home to Nigeria’s Super Eagles.
The other players included in the 18-man squad announced yesterday are Herbert Dick, Honour Gombami and Brian Badza, while Richard Choruma and Clement Matawu are on standby.
Zimbabwe, lying fourth in group four, still have a mathematical chance for the World Cup berth, which will be taken by the side that wins the pool.
However, the Warriors desperately need a win in Luanda to fancy their chances of a top-three finish in their group that will guarantee them a ticket to the African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.