Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
YOUNG Warriors coach Bhekithemba Ndlovu will come under the spotlight ahead of Zimbabwe’s participation at the 2018 MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships in Zambia early next month.
The Bulawayo City coach last year presided over one of the worst campaigns at a COSAFA Under-20 tournament by any Zimbabwean side.
This was largely attributed to the former Zimbabwe and Highlanders defender’s questionable team selection, which the Young Warriors, once a dominant force at the regional tournament, falling in embarrassing fashion.
Ndlovu yesterday named an enlarged 32-man provisional squad which he will trim to the 20 that will eventually make the journey to Kitwe. The lankly coach must also prove to a doubting nation that he has embraced such key fundamental aspects such as the fact that the development squad he has is a national agenda.
Ndlovu and his technical crew, which also includes Harare City’s Mark Mathe, would also need to prove that they have this time cast their net wider to beyond just the juniors from their respective clubs or those close by teams.
There is also need to show that “they have done things differently this time to ensure success this year and how will it continue next year’’.
It is against this background that Ndlovu and Mathe would also need to consider continuity and also rope in a number of 18-year-olds, who could be relied on again next year as Zimbabwe seek to build a foundation for a stronger Warriors, whose players do not make their senior débuts when they are on the wrong end of their 20s.Zimbabwe are up against last year’s runners-up Lesotho, Angola and Botswana in Group C.
Ndlovu acknowledged the need for continuity and noted the he had retained some of the players from last year’s failed campaign. “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. 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.
“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,” said Ndlovu.
Some of the players from last year’s team include Delic Murimba, Panashe Nyabunga and Tatenda Muringani.
United States-based Marvin Sibanda and Munashe Garananga based in South Africa, are the only two foreign-based players in the team. The Young Warriors, who were once a force to reckon with at the regional football showpiece, have for the past two years failed to progress beyond the group stages and pressure has mounted on Zimbabwe to redeem themselves.
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).