Warriors coach Ian Gorowa has dished out a tempting offer to Premier Soccer League (PSL) players, that they stand on equal opportunities with their foreign-based counterparts in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
The draw for qualification will be conducted on April 27 and Zimbabwe have escaped taking part in the preliminary stages that begin in May.
The Warriors will be picked from pot three in the draw and their qualifying bid starts in September.
Morocco will host the biennial tournament scheduled for next January.
Preparations for the qualifiers are already underway for Gorowa’s men and the coach has several PSL players in his plans.
“We really want to go to Morocco,” said Gorowa. “I feel home-based players are hungrier than guys in Europe. Selecting players is not based on which league a player is based, but on the type of the player and if his play fits in my system. For example, you can have [Kuda] Mahachi fitting in my game more than Quincy Antipas. But I am not saying Quincy is not in my plans.”
The Afcon prospect is likely to add more competition in the local league which is about to kick off.
Players like Peter Moyo, Mahachi and George Chigova are set to leave the premiership before the Afcon campaign begins.
For Gorowa, the road to Morocco 2015 began at the Chan tournament where Zimbabwe reached the semi-finals.
“We set a target for ourselves to qualify for Chan and it happened. Chan was a platform for the local-based guys to showcase themselves and they did well. I was impressed. It is also important to consider the international experience they gained at that tournament. Now we are eyeing Afcon,” he said.
The former Mamelodi Sundowns gaffer has led Zimbabwe to eight wins, six draws and two losses since assuming the coaching reins last July.
Thirteen of the matches had the PSL crop entirely participating while three included foreign-based players.
The Warriors beat Malawi 4-1 last Wednesday in a friendly international at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Gorowa called Czech Republic-based defender Costa Nhamoinesu as the only overseas-stationed player but the left-back could not be released by his club Sparta Prague.
“The Malawi match served its purpose. It was an exercise for me to have a look at players. I have not yet talked to Costa but the good thing is now I have his number,” said Gorowa.
“I hope to speak to him soon and I like his commitment because I understand he was prepared to use his own money to fly down here for that match. But just like any other player, I have to look at him because I have never watched him play. He missed an opportunity to be looked at but there is still time so I will see him.”
From September to May, Gorowa and his men face a crammed fixture programme that will see them play six group matches inside two months.
Four Moroccan cities — Rabat, Agadir, Tanger, and Marrakech — will host the Afcon tournament from January 17 to February 7.