Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS’ preparations for the World Cup qualifier against Ghana are moving at a snail’s pace, with the general manager for all national teams, Wellington Mpandare saying they are waiting for Fifa to release the dates and venue for the fixture.
The Warriors, hoping to revive their 2022 World Cup qualifiers following a false start that resulted in firing of coach Zdravko Logarusic, will take on Ghana in back-to-back matches next month, first starting with an away match.
Mpandare, who has been doing a commendable job in making sure that national teams’ preparations for assignments are flawless, making early bookings confirmation, said they are in a dilemma as they can not confirm their travelling arrangements.
Mpandare said their intention is to have players flying directly to Ghana from their bases after their last matches before the October Fifa international match calendar dates.
The next Fifa international match calendar dates which the African countries under the auspices of Confederation African Football (Caf) will play the World Cup qualifiers is from October 4 to 12.
With about two weeks left before players are released for international duty, Mpandare could not be drawn into stating if they have sent out invitation letters to clubs.
“As you might be aware, initially we were told that the match against Ghana will be played outside the capital city, but up to today, we haven’t been officially told about the venue and dates for the World Cup qualifier. We’re still waiting for Fifa to communicate, we don’t know what’s taking long for them to do so.
“This has made it difficult for us to work on logistics such as travelling arrangements because our intention was to have players flying directly to Ghana after their October 3 club games. Flying direct to Ghana would have given the technical team at least some time to work with the players. But if we say players fly to Zimbabwe, then to Ghana as a squad, it means we will lose more days of training,” said Mpandare.
Newly appointed interim Warriors coach Norman Mapeza will certainly want to have a little bit of time to strategise for the Ghana game as well as work his philosophy on the Warriors.
Mapeza has been called up to salvage Warriors’ World Cup qualifiers’ dreams and is being assisted by Tawurayi Mangwiro as well as Mandla Mpofu. Former national team goalkeeper, now attached at Chicken Inn FC is the goalkeepers’ trainer.
The Mapeza-led technical team will be in charge of the remaining World Cup qualifiers to be played within three months.
The Warriors are at the bottom of Group G with just a point, having played to a 0-0 draw with South Africa, before losing 1-0 away in Ethiopia. South Africa top the table with four points, while Ghana and Ethiopia are tied on three points.
Mapeza’s wish is to have all the Warriors players available.
“We are also waiting for Fifa to confirm if they have managed to find a breakthrough with the British Government and the English FA so that players are released for international duty. Remember, Ghana is on the British Government’s Covid-19 red list. So to say which players will be available at this time is tricky,” Mpandare said.