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Mapeza in youth brigade pledge

by Staff reporter
10 Nov 2021 at 05:29hrs | Views
WARRIORS interim coach, Norman Mapeza, has hinted he could give youngsters, Bill Antonio and Jonah Fabisch, a run in the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Bafana Bafana, tomorrow night.

Antonio is an 18-year-old forward, in his debut season with Dynamos, while Fabisch turned 20 in August this year.

Zimbabwe and South Africa clash in a 2022 World Cup qualifier at the FNB Stadium tomorrow. Antonio, who is having a good debut season at the Glamour Boys, was called in as a replacement for Macauley Bonne who, for the umpteenth time, withdrew from the squad.

"Look, I did the same with guys like Khama (Billiat), Knowledge (Musona) and Teenage (Hadebe), when I brought them to the national team, they were still very young,'' said Mapeza.

"These young players we have brought up have to learn as well.

"They need to learn from the big guys like Khama and (Marvelous) Nakamba, I think that way they will be able to learn quicker.

"If the opportunity for him to come in on Thursday comes, why should we not throw him?

"This is the time.''

The coach said the focus was to also build for the future and the young players fit well into the plans.

"We are now trying to build for the future'' he said. "Actually, if we had an Under-23 team in place, maybe, I could have brought the majority of the players from that team.

"But, unfortunately, football hasn't been played for the past two years back home.

"So, we had to just pick those guys who are in form at the moment and try to blend them with the senior players."

The coach challenged his troops to play for their national pride and restore their battered image. The match has virtually been reduced to a dead rubber for the Warriors, who are already out of contention for a place in Qatar, after picking just a single point, in four games.

In sharp contrast, Bafana have their fate in their hands and a victory tomorrow might be enough to take them into the final round of qualifiers. For that to happen, they will need Ethiopia to beat the Black Stars of Ghana, tomorrow. The irony of it all is that the East Africans are hosting their West African counterparts in Johannesburg, at the Orlando Stadium.

If both South Africa and Ghana win their matches, they will take the battle to the final match, on Sunday, with the winner taking everything on offer.

The Warriors conclude their group business with a date against Ethiopia on Sunday at the National Sports Stadium.

Nine points separate the two Limpopo rivals with Bafana Bafana topping Group G on 10 points, in four games, while Zimbabwe have a solitary point.

It was gained in a dull goalless draw against Bafana in the first match of these World Cup qualifiers. But, Mapeza is not dwelling a lot into the gulf in points, between the two teams, ahead of their latest showdown here tomorrow.

"Football is about results and we are here for those results," said Mapeza.

"Definitely, we have to win the game and I have said it before that we have a battered image, at the moment, and we have to go out there and get a result to restore our pride,'' said Mapeza. "We have to put in a thousand percent in this match, go in with a positive mind, fight for our badge and try to get a result and go back home with a positive result."

The Warriors were yesterday forced to look for an alternative training venue after their management felt the ones offered to them by the South African Football Association authorities were sub-standard.

It's rare for the two teams to engage in acts meant to deflect the focus of the other team by, among other things, offering them sub-standard hotels or pitches.

However, this probably shows that there is a lot of stake, for the South Africans, who want to win this match at all cost.

One of the pitches offered to the Warriors had an artificial turf yet the game will be played on FNB's natural grass while the other one had taller grass. The South African authorities have, however, promised to deal with the issue and should that be addressed, the Warriors will only train there once this morning, before having a feel of the match venue tonight.

The Warriors were in high spirits yesterday with 23, of the 26 players called into camp, available for national duty. Tendayi Darikwa has been ruled out due to family issues. Darikwa was also ruled out of the match between the Warriors and the Black Stars in the last qualifiers. Reports have indicated the Wigan Athletic captain is considering his future, with the Warriors, as he is not happy with a number of issues, surrounding the national team. He believes the team's capacity, to play to their full potential, was being affected by things beyond the control of the players. Eighteen-year-old Tawanda Maswanhise's passport is still being sorted out and he could be available for the match against Ethiopia in Harare. Alec Mudimu is here but he is suspended for the match against South Africa.

Warriors Squad

Goalkeepers: Petros Mhari (FC Platinum), Taimon Mvula (Dynamos), Donovan Benard (Chicken Inn)

Defenders: Devine Lunga (Mamelodi Sundowns), Brendan Galloway (Plymouth), Takudzwa Chimwemwe (Nkana), Peter Muduwa (Highlanders), Godknows Murwira (Dynamos) Alec Mudimu (Torpedo Kutaisi), Bruce Kangwa (Azam)

Midfielders: Marvellous Nakamba (Aston Villa), Gerald Takwara (Venda Football Academy), Kelvin Madzongwe (FC Platinum), Farai Madanhaga (Marumo Gallants), Blessing Sarupinda (Sekhukhune), Thabani Kamusoko (ZESCO Utd), Jonah Fabisch (Hamburger SV), Kuda Mahachi (SuperSport Utd), Ishmael Wadi (JDR Stars), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs)

Strikers: David Moyo (Hamilton Academical), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Bill Antonio (Dynamos)

Source - The Herald
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