Chaotic Warriors leave for Cosafa 

Eddie Chikamhi, Senior Sports Reporter

THE Warriors are set to leave for South Africa today for the COSAFA Cup bereft of any meaningful preparations ahead of their first game at the tournament in two days.

The build-up to this tournament has been stalked by a trail of chaos and high-level disorganisation demonstrated by the Lincoln Mutasa-led ZIFA Normalisation Committee.

The team selection has been shambolic, as up until the final week, the Warriors squad had not been finalised after the coach Jairos Tapera had disowned the initial squad called by ZIFA two weeks ago in favour of making his selection based on Under-23 players.

The Warriors squad was announced only a few minutes before midnight as ZIFA rushed to beat Friday night’s deadline.

The team was changed again on Sunday afternoon, as the confusion that has come to be associated with Zimbabwean football continued to take centre stage.

The squad announced on Sunday was the third list called by ZIFA in two weeks for the same tournament.

The players started trooping in camp yesterday after playing for their teams in the local league on Sunday afternoon.

“The Warriors are expected to leave Harare for Port Elizabeth on Tuesday (today) morning with training scheduled for Tuesday afternoon as well as Wednesday ahead of Zimbabwe’s opening match on Thursday afternoon,” said the Normalisation Committee spokesperson Mike Madoda.

While the Zimbabwe players have not been able to train together ahead of this tournament, players from other participating nations have been training for the past one to two weeks. Zimbabwe will open their campaign against Comoros in Group B on Thursday.

They will then play arch-rivals Zambia on Sunday before rounding off their round-robin games against Kenya next Tuesday.

The discourse among football enthusiasts is that Tapera is being set up for failure for the second time within a month following the recent disastrous outing in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The ZIFA Normalisation Committee have normalised the abnormal by usurping the responsibility of selecting the team. They have since discarded the standard procedure of holding process conferences to announce a team where the coach would need to defend his selection. To show that there was no harmony, Tapera disowned, for the second time, the squad that was called on Friday, which had five players from his team and four from his assistant Takesure Chiragwi’s Ngezi Platinum Stars.

Warriors squad:

 

Goalkeepers: Marley Tavaziva (Brentford), Raphael Pitisi (Highlanders), Joseph Kaunda (Manica Diamonds)

Defenders: Shane Maroodza (Huddersfield), Godknows Murwira (CAPS United), Emmanuel Jalai (Dynamos), Isheanesu Mauchi (Simba Bhora), Tawanda Chisi (Manica Diamonds), Malvern Hativagoni (Bulawayo Chiefs)

Midfielders: Joey Phuthi (Sheffield Wednesday), Tatenda Tavengwa (Venda FC), McKinnon Mushore (Highlanders), Richard Hachiro (Ngezi Platinum), Donald Mudadi (Dynamos), Kingsley Mureremba (CAPS United), Tinotenda Meke (GreenFuel), Panashe Mutimbanyoka (FC Platinum), Juan Mutudza (FC Platinum)

Forwards: Michael Tapera (Manica Diamonds), Never Rauzhi (Bulawayo Chiefs), Takunda Benhura (Ngezi Platinum), Washington Mapuya (GreenFuel)

 

 

 

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