Ndlovu names preliminary Zimbabwe selection

Zimbabwe coach Bekithemba Ndlovu has named a provisional 32-man squad to prepare for the upcoming 2018 MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships that will be staged in Kitwe, Zambia from December 2-14.

Ndlovu will use the coming weeks to assess his squad and work on combining the skills of the players, before trimming it to the required 20-man travelling party.

“I think in the first week, what we want mostly is to look at combinations, I think because we have got some who were there last year, and we have got the continuity,” Ndlovu told reporters.

“We have got new players, so we need to look at certain combinations. We need also to be looking at tactics, how we would want to play when we get there to Zambia. So those are the things which we will be looking at.

He added: “I think we will come up with a good team from the 32, which will travel to Zambia. What we are looking for is developing the young players and we are looking at maybe doing better than we did last year when we get to Zambia.”

Zimbabwe have been drawn in Group C at the championships and begin their campaign against Botswana on December 3.

That is followed by a clash with Lesotho two days later, before they close their pool play with a fixture against Angola on December 9.

Only the top team in each pool and the best-placed runner-up advance to the semi-finals.

The Young Warriors side has been among the most successful teams in the history of the competition with six wins in all, the last coming in 2007 when they beat hosts South Africa 3-0 to record a comprehensive final win.

They surprisingly did not fare well in South Africa in 2016 though, going out in the first round with 5-1 loss to Zambia followed by a 0-0 draw with Malawi.

That was followed by another early exit in 2017 when they lost out to Lesotho at the top of their pool on goals scored, having been held to draws by the latter and Namibia.

Provisional Squad:

Goalkeepers: Issah Ali (Yadah Stars), Frank Kuchineyi (Herentals), Prince Kashiri (Chicken Inn), Panashe Nyabunga (Ngezi Platinum Stars).

Defenders: Andrew Mbeba (Highlanders), Brendon Mpofu (Ndlovu Inyathela), Munashe Garananga (Ubuntu FC), Kuzivakwashe Mudima (ZPC Kariba), Emmanuel Jalayi (Aces Academy), Kudzaishe Dzingwe (Talen Vision), Nyasha Garai (Bulawayo Chiefs).

Midfielders: Tinashe Siziba (Shabanie Mine), Macdonald Mukunga (Harare City), Emmanuel Ziwocha (Harare City), Tatenda Tumba (Harare City), Eddie Chitavanei (Bulawayo Chiefs), Phinias Mutsetse (Chapungu), Douglas Mapfumo (Legends Academy), Devin Mhindiriri (Bulawayo City), Kelvin Ndebele (CAPS United), Tinotenda Chiunye (CAPS United), Blessing Nyamuzihwa (ZPC Kariba), Tatenda Muringani (Dynamos), Leonard Jani (FC Platinum), Kundai Mukweva (Aces Academy), Priviledge Mugandani (Alburaak), Marvin Sibanda (Taft’s Head Boys Varsity).

Strikers: Thabo Lunga (Highlanders), Delic Murimba (Triangle), Mandlenkosi Mlilo (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Blessing Sarupinda (Black Rhinos), Clive Rupiya (Chapungu).

By Nkululeko Sibanda