FORMER Warriors assistant coach Joey Antipas has described the squad named by coach Kalisto Pasuwa to face Guinea in the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifiers as “a balanced squad”.
Antipas, who coaches Premier Soccer League log leaders Chicken Inn, said the squad was one of the best ever to be assembled and predicted that the Warriors would prevail over Guinea.
“I think this is a very strong squad. It is a balanced squad with a mixture of youth and experience. All the players called up are fit and raring to go,” Antipas said.
Former Warriors forward Alois Bunjira echoed the sentiments.
“It’s the best line up to be assembled recently, but my main worry is whether Zifa has the money to fly in the players or whether the players will be available for the match,” he said.
Harare City coach Taurai Mangwiro said there were a lot of factors to be considered when a coach assembles a team.
“There are a lot of factors to be considered when a coach is naming a squad but I trust that the players called up will serve us well. Pasuwa is a veteran coach and we can only wish him well.”
Although some coaches chose to be diplomatic in their assessment of the squad, questions have arisen over the call-up of some players, in particular Mamelodi Sundowns forward Kuda Mahachi, who has not been playing regularly at his club.
Mahachi struggled to impose himself in the Under-23 African Championship qualifying matches against South Africa because of lack of game time, leading to Zimbabwe being beaten to the sole ticket to the eight-nation tournament to be held in Senegal in December.
Questions have also been raised over defender Justice Jangano, who has not been playing regularly for his club.
However, Pasuwa still has a wider pool from which to choose the men who will line up for battle against the West Africans.
The Warriors gaffer has made several changes to the squad that overcame Malawi 2-1 in Blantyre, calling up several European-based professionals headlined by Sweden-based Nyasha Mushekwi, Sparta Praha defender Costa Nhamoinesu, Knowledge Musona (Belgium), Ouincy Antipas (Denmark), Pretoria University goalkeeper Washington Arubi, England-based Macauley Bonnie, who plays for Colchester United, and Burnley utility player Tendai Darikwa, among several other stars.
The team will go into camp on Monday to start the preparations for the Guinea tie. Zimbabwe are joint leaders in Group L with Swaziland on three points and need to win at home to enhance their chances of qualification for the finals.