HomeSportWarriors to play Zebras in return friendly match

Warriors to play Zebras in return friendly match

The friendly match is set for Bulawayo on February 19 with locally-based players set to get a chance to impress coach Norman Mapeza.

Last week, Zimbabwe played a goalless draw away to Botswana as the Zebras fine-tuned their preparations for the 2012 Afcon finals co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

According to Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze, the Warriors will this time around leave no stone unturned in preparing for the biannual tournament.

“The friendly match will be played at Barbourfields six days before we travel to Burundi. We are making plans that Mapeza is going to field locally-based players so that when the foreign contingent join camp, the local players will be more than prepared for the game,” Mashingaidze said.

The locally-based players are set to join camp on February 14, six days before the friendly match while the foreign contingent will join camp on February 20.

They will have two days to train together with locally-based players before flying to Burundi on February 22 where they are scheduled to play their first Africa Nations Cup qualifying match on the weekend of February 25-26.

Mashingaidze however defended Zifa’s scrappy preparations of the first leg of the international friendly match that was played in Botswana on January 7.

The match was supposed to involve a number of foreign-based players that were still in the country for holidays but in the end had to be fulfilled by locally-based players that were called up at the last minute.

This saw Mapeza calling up players like Masimba Mambare, Pardon Chinugwa, and Rodrick Mutuma, among others.

“There are a lot of things that we had to consider at the last minute. Foreign-based players have their own training schedule so it became hard for us to accommodate them for the friendly match. At the end we decided to use locally-based players even though we could not give them enough time to prepare,” Mashingaidze said.

“A number of them complained about travelling by road, but  broke as we are, there is no way we could have gone for an expensive mode of travelling as we had to make sure that the players would get something at the end of the day.”

He said countries like Botswana and Zamabia always travel by road each time they come to Zimbabwe.

“What will people say if they see us hiring expensive mode of transport while on the other hand we say we have no money. Will that be justifiable?”

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