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No Friendlies For Warriors Ahead Of World Cup Qualifiers

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By Sports Reporter

THE Warriors will not play any friendly matches ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Ethiopia after the local football mother body revealed it has shelved plans to organise preparatory matches for the senior national team due to scheduling challenges.

Zimbabwe’s national team had initially been scheduled to play a warm-up game when the 15-day international break commences on May 31.

ZIFA, however, revealed the Warriors technical team headed by head coach Zdravko Logarusic decided against the plans due to the limited recovery time before the start of the qualifiers and the risk of players picking up injuries in the friendlies.

“Zifa is saddled with preparation for the World Cup qualifiers due in June 2021 against South Africa and Ethiopia as well as senior women’s matches later this year. In the same token, Zifa wishes to inform the nation that it has dropped any plans for the Warriors’ friendly on the advice and request of the technical team, which feels the friendly window dates are too close to the actual qualifiers and may pose challenges such as injuries to key players.

“The Fifa friendly window has been set a few days before the qualifiers. The association is now firmly laying the groundwork for football resumption and has quietly invested a lot towards grassroots, youth, and women’s football in 2021 and beyond; details of which shall be announced soon,” said Zifa in a statement by communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela.

ZIFA also confirmed that Zimbabwe will also not partake in any junior football, regional or international, this year.

“The ZIFA Board has decided not to partake in any international youth tournaments this year but rather shall focus in building future youth national teams by kick-starting both the boys and girls under 15 and under 17 provincial youth leagues as well as grassroots football to resume as soon as authorisation is granted by responsible authorities,” Gwesela said.