Afcon 2017: Pasuwa opts for experience

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Kalisto Pasuwa could be on a collision course with the Zifa High Performance Technical Committee (HPTC) on his selection of the Warriors side for the 2017 Afcon qualifiers after the committee recommended that he uses the Under-23s as the core of his team.

BY MICHAEL MADYIRA

Pasuwa has insisted that he will go for experience and is expected to name his team next week.

Zimbabwe begin their Afcon campaign away in Malawi on the weekend of June 12-14. Guinea and Swaziland complete Group L.

Following the disbandment of the senior national side last year, the HPTC suggested a rebuilding exercise hinged on the Under-23s who have so far managed to qualify for the All-Africa Games after remarkably overpowering Cameroon.

Pasuwa has maintained faith in senior players although he has not closed the door on Young Warriors players.

“A hint I can give at the moment is that I am going for the likes of Khama [Billiat], [Knowledge] Musona and other professionals in Europe,” said Pasuwa.

“I cannot divulge names at the moment. My main worry now is that we are having little time in terms of preparations so we want some professionals who know how to play at a higher level. I would not want to lie by saying these youngsters [Under-23s] are ready to play the Afcon stage.

“We thought these youngsters could play for the whole of this year participating in the Olympic qualifiers as well as the All-Africa Games while gathering enough experience and then next year, we can throw them into a higher level.

“The High Performance Committee recommended that we use most of the Under-23s so I will have to sit down with them. Remember we had a team at Chan last year but we destroyed it. There were some youngsters in that team and they had a bright future.”

Some professionals plying their trade overseas who can bring impetus into the Warriors include Czech Republic-based Costa Nhamoinesu and midfielder Dzikamai Gwaze who is at Polish top-flight league side Gornik Zarbze.

Right-back Tendayi Darikwa who was recently named Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season at English League One side Chesterfield, as well as the Denmark-based duo of Quincy Antipas and Silas Songani can help Zimbabwe match Guinea.

HPTC vice-chairman Gibson Homela restated that Pasuwa should follow their recommendations and build the bulk of his team from the Young Warriors as the bulk, although it does not follow that all recommendations could be taken on board.

“If he [Pasuwa] does not believe in the Under-23s he has been working with all along, then that is regrettable,” said Homela.

“We had suggested that the core of the Warriors be the Under-23. We are expecting that since he has had some time with them.

They went to Cameroon and did well so there is no reason we can say they cannot be in the senior team.

“If a player is 23-year-old and cannot play for the national team, then he is a waste of time. Even someone who is 19 can play for the national team. But we understand that Pasuwa can decline our suggestion and we will not limit him on that.”

Young Warriors midfielder Marvelous Nakamba is guaranteed a place in the senior side after he started enjoying some minutes at Dutch side Vitesse.

While hailing senior players in Europe, Pasuwa gave special mention to striker Nyasha Mushekwi who is topping the goal scoring chats in the Swedish Allvenskan

The Djurgarden forward has scored seven goals in eight games and is expected to lead the Warriors attack together with Musona.

“I am happy with Mushekwi. I have been following him. He is one boy whom you have confidence in when you are going for big games,” said Pasuwa.