THE Young Warriors boycotted the afternoon training session yesterday after they didn’t get their lunch in yet another massive blow to preparations for their CAF Under-23 Championships qualifier against South Africa on Saturday night.
The team is currently without head coach Callisto Pasuwa who walked out on the team on Tuesday because of unpaid dues. The players held their morning training session under the guidance of assistant coach, Nation Dube, with no solution in sight to the stand-off between Pasuwa and ZIFA.
Pasuwa doubles up as the Warriors coach. As if the coach’s crisis was not enough, the Under-23 players refused to train after failing to get lunch at a lodge where they are staying with reports saying ZIFA had not paid for the food.
Zimbabwe were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Rufaro and they need to win Saturday’s game or get, at least, a scoring draw of two goals and above. And the recent developments which have seen the coach not reporting for duty and the players boycotting training might not make it easier for the side in terms of their preparations comparing with their opponents.
While the Young Warriors camp was in turmoil, South Africa were leaving no stone unturned and on Tuesday night they beat Rwanda 2-0 in a friendly match.The game was part of their preparations for Saturday’s game. ZIFA spokesperson, Xolisani Gwesela, said there was communication breakdown between the lodge and ZIFA and added that the problem has since been addressed.
“There was communication breakdown between ZIFA and the lodge but we would like to confirm that it has been sorted out. “I am also informed by the technical team that for the afternoon session they didn’t want to train but wanted to go to the swimming pool.“The team is leaving on Friday morning aboard Air Zimbabwe. Tickets have already been purchased by FC Platinum Holdings and we would like to thank them for partnering the association in these difficult moments,” said Gwesela.
Gwesela said they were doing all they can to raise the needed money to pay the coach. “Our comment is brief; we are working tirelessly to address the matter. His manager has already mentioned the issue which we acknowledge but we have not been able to raise the money. “We are negotiating and it’s being handled by the secretary-general (Jonathan Mashingaidze),” said Gwesela.
Pasuwa’s manager, Gibson Mahachi said they were still waiting for communication from the football mother body. “There isn’t anything at the moment, maybe they will talk to us but what I can say is there is nothing. We are waiting to hear from them,” said Mahachi.
Despite the negative developments within the camp, the players have maintained a positive attitude with those who spoke to The Herald expressing confidence they will do well in South Africa on Saturday night. Young Warriors goalkeeper, Tatenda Mukuruva, said they need to remain positive if they are to pull through against South Africa.
“So far, the training is good, we are training very well so that we get a good result in South Africa. “Although we are playing away our chances are a bit high, we need to be positive enough so that we can get a win or maybe a goal-scoring draw, maybe a 2-2 draw.
“They are quite good, they are quick on the ball and their transition is very good so we have to be brave enough to be quick on the ball. “We definitely believe in ourselves that we can get a positive result in South Africa. “In terms of preparations we know we are not quite good, when compared to South Africa, but when we are on the field we put all the problems aside and focus mainly on the game to get a positive result,” said Mukuruva.
Walter Musona said they need to attack from the onset to get an early goal against their opponents. “If we work together as a team we will get the results. We just need to work hard. We saw our mistakes in the first leg so we need to work on our mistakes.
“We need to attack from the onset to get an early goal because if we fail to score it won’t be good for us. We want to win, South Africa relies on short passes.“We are now working on blocking those short passes and attacking the way they attacked us at home.
“Their defence lacks speed, so we just need to work on our speed to penetrate their defence,” Musona said. The winners from this tie will progress to the Under-23 African Championships set for Senegal from November 28 to December 12. The top three countries from the championships will represent Africa in next year’s Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Credit The Herald