Zifa abandons u-20 team

Raymond Jaravaza .
THE Young Warriors were on Wednesday afternoon a�� 72 hours before an Under 20A� African Cup of Nations tie against Botswana a��barred from training at Barbourfields Stadium owing to nonpayment to use the facility by Zifa.

To compound the Young Warriorsa�� problems team manager Patrick Muteswa was nowhere to be seen.
Muteswa, who is supposed to be the point person for all administrative issues relating to the camp including organising training facilities for the squad was still in Harare, three days before the crunch tie on Sunday.

The return leg will be played on 22 April in Lobatse, Botswana with the qualifying teams set to meet for the finals in Zambia next year.

When B-Metro Sport visited the teama��s training session at the soccer fields outside the stadium there was no bottled water for the squad, including for the technical bench despite the searing heat.

Players had to rely on the goodwill of a�?volunteersa�� a�� soccer enthusiasts in the form of boys that reside in surrounding areas a��to fetch them water in old plastic bottles from toilets nearby.

Coach Jairos Tapera bemoaned the lack of preparation for the Botswana tie.

a�?We are forced to delay naming the squad to give us time to fine tune our combinations. The boys are tactically good but football is a game of combinations and we need to get that part of the game right,a�? said Tapera.

The one positive aspect about the camp is that the team is residing at Lalani Lodge in Bulawayo, a much better alternative to Zifa Village, which has over the years been routinely condemned by national teams including the Mighty Warriors.

Despite the hurdles the Young Warriors have to overcome in the build-up to the Botswana tie, the coach remains positive of grabbing a winner on Sunday.

a�?We are going into the game to win and we are confident of doing just that. In an ideal situation we would have liked to include schoolboys in the trials but due to time constraints we had to forgo that idea.

Remember soccer at schools is not played in the first term of the school calendar so we could not accommodate schoolboys,a�? he said.

Tapera is assisted by former Zifa Southern Region club Bantu Rovers coach Mandla a�?Lulua�� Mpofu.

Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela had earlier promised to furnish B-Metro Sport with information on the whereabouts of the Young Warriors manager Muteswa.

Efforts to contact him later proved futile as his cell phone was not reachable at the time of going to print.

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