WARRIORS’ coach Kalisto Pasuwa has beseeched his troops to go and put up a fight at the African Cup of Nations Championship (Chan) scheduled for Kigali, Rwanda, next week.BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The Warriors gaffer, who watched his charges play a practice match against Zimbabwe’s Caf Confederations Cup representatives Harare City, whom they beat 3-2 at the National Sports Stadium B arena, said the match had helped his technical team to pick out some grey areas they needed to continue working on before the tournament.
The coach, though, lamented the lack of friendly matches.He said he would have wanted to play at least one international friendly match as a dress rehearsal for the tournament before the team departs.
“I don’t think we will be able to play a friendly match. The team is leaving on the 16th and we would have wanted to play at least one friendly match before the team departs for Rwanda. But I have told the boys we have to go there and fight,” Pasuwa said.
He said he invited Harare City, who have just trained for a week, to play a practice match and was happy that it helped them assess the areas that needed to be worked on.
“They have trained for just five or six days, but it has helped us see the grey areas that we need to polish up. We are going into a tournament where we will play many games, so we need to continue working on those areas that need improvement,” Pasuwa said.
The coach also said he was happy with the combinations, but said his team was losing shape in defence against Harare City and stressed that it was one of the areas he needed to work on.
“Defensively, we were losing shape against Harare City. It is one of the areas we need to work on. We might lose shape offensively, but we can’t do that in defence,” he said.
Harare City coach Taurai Mangwiro said they were not reading much into the match.
“The match is not something to read much into,” Mangwiro said. “I was asked for a preparatory match and I felt they needed some opponent to give them a run. I feel it was a very important exercise. They got 70 minutes of a feel of the match. We can only wish them well. As for us, we will continue with our pre-season preparations. We have not been working on the technical side of things. We have only been working on the mental and physical. We will be working on the technical side in the coming week,’ Mangwiro said.
Pasuwa could have been afforded the chance to gauge his team’s strength and weaknesses had Zifa managed to organise an international friendly match ahead of the tournament.
Zifa board member (competitions) Piraishe Mabhena said it was unfortunate they could not secure a friendly match for the Warriors.
He said lack of resources to host teams or travel was one of the reasons for their failure to secure a friendly match.
Zimbabwe’s opponents in Group D have been playing some international friendly matches.
Neighbours Zambia, whom the Warriors face on January 19, have set camp in South Africa, where they are playing some friendly matches, while Uganda, who are also Zimbabwe’s Group D opponents, played Gabon in their preparatory match on Sunday.
West African side Mali, also in the same group, played Angola.Uganda is scheduled to take on Cameroon today.
The Chan tournament in Rwanda runs from January 16 to February 7.
Zimbabwe reached the semi-finals at the last edition of the tournament held in South Africa.
Former Warriors coach Ian Gorowa was in charge of that team, while Pasuwa was assistant.
The Warriors are now expected to leave for Rwanda on Saturday.