Zifa has asked the Warriors technical team to name international friendly match opponents of their choice as they try to move a gear up in preparing for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
The preparations got underway last month with a 4-1 friendly match win against Malawi in Blantyre. Zimbabwe begin their bid for Morocco 2015 next month in the second round of qualifiers.
In what is a rare privilege for coach Ian Gorowa and his men who often battle to secure competitive opponents in friendlies, they have been afforded the luxury of choosing their own preferred sparring partners.
Libya and Swaziland have already written to Zifa requesting matches and Gorowa would have a final say if he deems either or both can offer his side a strong challenge.
Although Zifa are cash-strapped and struggle to arrange travelling for away assignments, they would want to take full advantage of next month’s friendly match activities ahead of June’s Fifa World Cup.
The European off-season would also see most African countries that did not qualify for the World Cup involved in friendlies because of the availability of their overseas-based stars.
Libya want to meet the Warriors in Harare or at a neutral venue since the North Africans are currently barred by CAF from hosting international matches in their country due to political turmoil.
“What are your programmes for May 25 Fifa friendly match date? Do you need a game in Harare or abroad? I am waiting for your reply,” wrote Libyan match agent Mahmoud bin Saed to Zifa last week.
While Gorowa was unavailable to avail his preferred opponents, Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said they expected the technical team to get back to them this week.
“To widen our options, we have asked the technical team to give us countries they would wish to play against. We want the friendly to be early next month,” said Mashingaidze.
Currently ranked 26 in Africa, the Warriors start their Afcon qualifiers next month by taking part in the second qualification round meant for the first round victors and countries ranked between 22 and 47.
The draw for this knockout second round is scheduled for next Sunday in Cairo.
If the Warriors pass through the second round, they will play in another two-legged third round where they would have to get past and proceed to the group stages which would be the final qualification round.
The group stages are a crammed fixture programme of six-group matches contested by 28 teams pooled in four groups and played inside two months from September to November.
Four Moroccan cities — Rabat, Agadir, Tanger, and Marrakech — will host the Afcon tournament from January 17 to February 7.