YOUNG Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa is hoping to get regular goalkeeper Donovan Bernard in time for Sunday’s Under 23 Championship qualifier first round, first leg against Swaziland set for Rufaro Stadium.
Bernard was in South Africa with the Warriors team that was ruthlessly dealt with by Namibia in the last group match on Thursday, losing 4-1 to bounce out of the Cosafa Cup tournament after reaching the final two years ago in Zambia.
The Young Warriors have been training with one goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya from Hwange after Dynamos withdrew Tatenda Mukuruva.
“If he (Bernard) does come, we will assess his condition and take him through a training session and some rest and we might probably use him on Sunday,” said Pasuwa.
The Young Warriors have already been handicapped by the loss of Kuda Mahachi due to personal problems, Ronald Pfumbidzai who is in Sweden for trials while Chicken Inn recalled defender Lawrence Mhlanga.
FC Platinum also withdrew Kelvin Moyo after one of their defenders Aaron Katebe was called up for national duty in Zambia for the Cosafa Cup. They are also without defender Blessing Moyo of Dynamos.
“What is most worrying is that from the defenders I had when we played against Morocco last year, I have no one right now,” said Pasuwa.
“I have lost Blessing Moyo, Pfumbidzai and goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva. It’s like I will have to start all over again because Lawrence Mhlanga has been withdrawn again.
“It’s very difficult when you consider that we are playing against a team that has been in camp for the past three months preparing for this match.”
That aside, Pasuwa knows he needs a comfortable home result ahead of next week’s return leg in Mbabane.
The Young Warriors have already qualified for the All Africa Games finals to be staged in Congo-Brazzaville from September 4-19 and can go one step further by becoming the first Zimbabwean team to qualify for the Olympics.
Should Pasuwa’s men go through, they will face neighbours South Africa in the final qualifying round with winners from that encounter, sealing a ticket to Congo.
The top-three finishers at Congo tournament will automatically qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Brazil, while the fourth-placed team will engage a team from the Asian Football Confederation in a play-off.Advertisement
In the women’s section, the Mighty Warriors left for Zambia on Friday for a date with Shepolopolo at Nkoloma Stadium on Sunday afternoon.