The Young Warriors know that a comfortable victory against Angola at Rufaro this afternoon is the tonic they need to progress to the next round of the Under-20 African Youth Championships.The team held its last training session at the match venue on Friday and had a chance to watch yesterday’s Harare derby pitting Dynamos and CAPS United.
At Friday’s training session, Warriors assistant coach, David Yogi Mandigora and team manager Nyika Chifamba paid a surprise courtesy call on the team to psyche the players up ahead of this southern African derby.
Friday’s training session provided coach Jairos Tapera and his lieutenants George Madira and Mandla Mpofu with an opportunity to craft the master plan for what promises to be a gruelling confrontation.
Even retired soccer referee Wilfred Mukuna took time to furnish the lads on the rules of the game as they try to avoid costly suspensions.
The Young Warriors already are without Vincent Mbira through suspension while midfielder Brian Five pulled a hamstring on Tuesday.
However, the newly assembled squad has the experience needed to thrive on with the likes of Harare City’s Willard Kalongonda and goalkeeper Tonderai Mateyaunga set to use their premiership experience to good effect.
Chicken Inn’s Kudakwashe Mahachi is expected to steer the engine room, ably assisted by exciting Walter Musona (young brother to Warriors forward Knowledge), Nqobizitha Masuku and Farai Madora.
Highlanders striker Knox Mtizwa and Thomas Chinodya will shoulder the goal scoring responsibilities of an expectant nation which will be looking at posting an unassailable advantage to see it going into the next stage.
Tapera, in highlighting the team’s preparedness for the game, implored on the fans to make home advantage count and spur the Young Warriors to victory.
“We are ready for the match. There are no new injury worries and we are happy about that. We hope to play positively despite not having so much information about our opponents.”
The Angolans arrived yesterday morning and had a feel of the match venue last night after the Harare derby where they plotted a secretive ambush on the Young Warriors.
The match could also come in handy for the Warriors, who will engage Angola later next month for a ticket to the African Nations Cup finals to be staged in South Africa next year.
Kenya or Uganda awaits the Young Warriors if they pass this litmus test on the road to the finals set for Algeria next year.
According to Zifa chief executive officer, Jonathan Mashingaidze, gates will be open around 9am with junior teams set to play curtain raiser matches. Gate charges have been dropped to US$2 for the rest of the ground, US$5 for the wing bays and US$10 for the VIP stands.