CAPTAIN of the locally-based Warriors, Danny Phiri says his colleagues will find Barbourfields Stadium an easy venue to play at as they prepare to face Lesotho in the African Nations Championships (Chan) final qualifier, first leg on Sunday.
The second leg is on October 25 in Maseru.
The Warriors-all age groups-rarely play in Bulawayo, with respective administrations at Zifa rotating them between Rufaro and the National Sports Stadium in Harare, despite the presence of world class venues at Barbourfields and Mandava in Zvishavane.
Bulawayo has often received second rate matches, like Chan and Cosafa games, but no Africa Cup of Nations or World Cup qualifiers.
As such, Bulawayo fans have tended stay away from national team games when they are brought to the southern part of the country, perhaps as a way of protest, but Phiri has rallied the fans to support them.
Gate charges have been pegged at $3 for the cheapest ticket, $5 for the western stands and $10 for the VIP.
“Barbourfields is a very good venue and we would want the fans to come and support us in their numbers.
“We need their support and that can help us to get a comfortable home win,” Phiri said as the Warriors finally assembled in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
As has been the norm, there were hiccups in the training camp until Premier Soccer League chief executive Kenny Ndebele-the best football administrator that Zimbabwe has at the moment and a Fifa instructor-came to their rescue by activating his contacts in the City of Kings.
The Warriors are based at Glen Lodge-a resort setting away from the city in the low density suburb of Newton West that shares a fence with the Tshabalala Game Sanctuary, which is along the road to the Matopos National Park.
Glen Lodge operates its own travel and tours company.
Transport to their training venue, Luveve Stadium, in the high density suburb of the same name, food and refreshments have been organised.
The PSL believes the success of the Warriors at Chan-which is exclusive for locally based players only-signals the strength of the local league hence their unwavering support.
Despite the usual hiccups, the Warriors still managed two training sessions on the opening on Tuesday, without their Harare-based contingent that was only expected in the City of Kings in the evening.Advertisement
“They had two training sessions but the players from Harare had not yet arrived,” Zifa spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela said on Tuesday evening.
The absent players included the Dynamos contingent of Rodreck Mutuma, Ronald Chitiyo and Ocean Mushure, Hardlife Zvirekwi from Caps United and his teammate Justice Jangano.
A full house though is expected on Wednesday.
Warriors CHAN Squad:
Goalkeepers: Elvis Chipezeze (Chicken Inn), Takabva Mawaya (Hwange), Donovan Bernard (How Mine) Defenders: Blessing Moyo (Dynamos), Hardlife Zvirekwi (CAPS United), Bruce Kangwa (Highlanders), Ocean Mushure, (Dynamos) Teenage Hadebe (Highlanders), Lawrence Mhlanga (Chicken Inn), Justice Jangano (CAPS United) Midfielders: Tichaona Chipunza, Danny Phiri, Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Chicken Inn), Ronald Chitiyo (Dynamos), Raphael Manuvire (ZPC Kariba), Malvern Gaki (Triangle) , Marshal Mudehwe (FC Platinum), Talent Chawapihwa (Harare City) Nqobizitha Masuku (Highlanders)
Strikers: Pritchard Mpelele (Hwange), Brian Muzondiwa (FC Platinum), Edmore Chirambadare (Chicken Inn), Roderick Mutuma (Dynamos)