HARARE - Warriors coach Calisto Pasuwa has warned his players against complacency when they take on Guinea in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier first leg at Rufaro stadium on Sunday.
The lanky coach was happy to have most of his players in camp after a false start to the preparations caused by delays in sending air tickets to foreign-based players.
But Pasuwa warned his stars that the West Africans are a formidable team and they should not read too much into their defeat by Swaziland in June.
“It’s good the players are here and we were trying to work on combinations on our game against Guinea. Some of these boys have never played together so we need to organise,” Pasuwa said.
“We are looking for balance in the team. We need to do better and complacency must not creep in. We beat Malawi in their own backyard and we can also be beaten here if we think it’s a stroll in the park. We need to be very serious with this game.
“The good thing is that the majority of the players are now here. We just need to utilise the limited time that we have and make use of it. I have watched Guinea play and in their last match they were using a 3-5-2 formation but you don’t know when they come here,” said the former Dynamos coach.
Yesterday, the Warriors finally conducted their first full training sessions after Monday and Tuesday’s disruptions.
The team was initially scheduled to begin training on Monday but most of the foreign-based players who make the core of the squad did not pitch up in time and only arrived on Tuesday evening owing to failure by Zifa to provide air tickets on time.
The morning session had its fair share of chaos after the team’s scheduled training was delayed by over two hours as they did not have a training kit.
But when the training session finally began, it was down to serious business with Pasuwa having to watch his players closely given the limited time left before the game on Sunday.
The team had to switch their afternoon training session from Rufaro Stadium to Gwanzura, when the players complained of the hard surface of Rufaro.
Pasuwa and his technical team took the team through their paces with almost all of the South Africa-based players taking part.
Pretoria University goalkeeper Washington Arubi, Mamelodi Sundowns’ trio of Khama Billiart, Cuthbert Malajila and Kuda Mahachi were among those who were in the first training session.
Kaizer Chiefs midfielder and Warriors skipper Willard Katsande was expected to join the camp yesterday along with defender Liberty Chakoroma who recently signed for Free State Stars.
Belgium-based Knowledge Musona and Matthew Rusike, who is now based in Sweden, are expected to join the squad today. Striker Nyasha Mushekwi’s arrival was delayed as he is sorting out his contract issues and is also expected to join the team today.
Zimbabwe are joint leaders of Group L with Swaziland on three points and need a victory against the West Africans to maintain pole position in the group.
Goalkeepers: Washington Arubi (University of Pretoria), Elvin Chipezeze (Chicken Inn), Tatenda Munditi (Harare City)
Defenders: Hardlife Zvirekwi, Justice Jangano (CAPS United), Liberty Chakoroma (Free State Stars), Milton Ncube (Ajax Cape Town) Costa Nhamoinesu (Sparta Prague), Patson Jaure (University of Pretoria), Teenage Hadebe (Highlanders)
Midfielders: Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs), Danny Phiri (Chicken Inn), Ronald Chitiyo (Dynamos), Khama Billiat (Sundowns), Kuda Mahachi (Sundowns), Rapheal Manuvire (ZPC Kariba)
Strikers: Edmore Chirambadare (Chicken Inn), Knowledge Musona (K.V. Oostende), Mathew Rusike (Halmstads BK), Nyasha Mushekwi (Djurgardens), Cuthbert Malajila (Sundowns)