THE Zimbabwe Under-23 side face a hectic week ahead of them as they get down to serious business in their quest to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The new technical team, led by Tonderai Ndiraya, will begin their journey today when they name the squad to face Mozambique in the second round of the 2019 Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations.
Zimbabwe will face the Mambas on March 22 in Maputo and the reverse fixture is four days later in Harare.
The coach, who was confirmed by the ZIFA board at the weekend, submitted his list to the office yesterday and the association immediately called for a press conference.
Ndiraya and his men have exactly 10 days to prepare for their first assignment.
And, since everyone is new in the set-up, they are scheduled to go for an early camp to make the most of the little time they have against a Mozambique side that has been participating in the qualifiers since last year.
Team manager Charles Mukaronda, who is returning to the team after serving under Callisto Pasuwa four years ago, said they remain focused.
“The good thing is that our coach Tonderai Ndiraya was already on the ground working on the team.
“Now we are in the process of putting things together and what we probably need to do now is to try and make sure that all the players that we want are released on time by their clubs,” said Mukaronda.
The technical team have been forced to cast the net far and wide since the domestic league is currently off-season.
If Zimbabwe triumph against Mozambique’ they will meet either South Africa or Angola in the decisive round of the qualifiers for a place at the eight-team Under-23 AFCON scheduled for Egypt in November.
The top three teams at the tournament will proceed to represent the continent at the Tokyo Olympics.
Ndiraya will be assisted by Mandla Mpofu and Nesbert Saruchera.
Seasoned goalkeeper specialist trainer Tembo Chuma is also part of the team. Mukaronda said the national Under-23 team will look beyond the upcoming 2019 AFCON and Olympic tournaments.
Source : The Herald