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Botswana rescue Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
11 Oct 2023 at 06:24hrs | Views
Warriors coach Baltemar Brito has been granted another opportunity to observe his team in action during a second international friendly match as they prepare for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The friendly match, scheduled against Botswana's Zebras, has been arranged by Zifa and will take place at the National Sports Stadium on Saturday.

Next month, Zimbabwe will commence their quest for a spot in the World Cup finals with matches against Rwanda away and Nigeria at home. Due to local stadiums being considered unsuitable for international matches, the Warriors will host Nigeria in Botswana.

The Warriors are placed in Group C of the qualifiers, along with Rwanda, Nigeria, Benin, South Africa, and Lesotho.

According to a statement from Zifa, foreign-based players will begin arriving today for the international friendly with the Zebras. There was uncertainty as of yesterday about whether Zifa had successfully sent invitation letters to the players' respective clubs on time.

"A Warriors squad composed of both locally-based and foreign-based players is set to face Botswana in an international friendly on Saturday, October 14, at the National Sports Stadium. The squad will be announced once all logistical matters are finalized. Players will begin arriving for the camp on Wednesday (today). This match is a crucial part of the country's preparations for match days 1 and 2 of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers scheduled for November 13 to 21. Our first match will be an away fixture against Rwanda before we host Nigeria a few days later," stated Zifa.

Warriors' manager Clemence Matawu mentioned that he is awaiting instructions from his superiors to determine which international players would be available for the friendly match.

Fans are expected to pay US$5 for general admission, US$10 for Bays 15-18, and US$50 for VIP seats to witness the Warriors playing on home soil for the first time since the FIFA ban was lifted.

Last week, Sikhumbuzo Ndebele, a member of the Zifa Normalisation Committee, disclosed that a four-team tournament featuring Botswana was in the works as part of the Warriors' preparations for the World Cup qualifiers. Following the competition, coach Baltemar Brito will be able to select his squad for the camp in Rwanda for the initial Group C match.

Ndebele explained, "The roadmap for our preparation for the World Cup qualifiers has been laid out. We plan to have a competitive training knockout with participants from the diaspora, the southern and northern regions, and Botswana in the mix. One noteworthy aspect is that we are holding a condensed training session, offering an opportunity for young players who may not be well-known but have signed professional contracts abroad and are willing to represent Zimbabwe in the World Cup."

This month's international break will conclude next Tuesday.

Source - newsday