THE YOUNG Warriors get their Cosafa Under-20 Championships campaign underway this evening when they take on Swaziland at Maseru Stadium, hoping to land a seventh regional title that has remained elusive in the last few years.
Coach Jairos Tapera has named a 20-member squad which he believes has the capability of finally bringing the trophy home.
He has two internationals in his team in Brett Amidu from South Africa’s Absa Premier Soccer League (PSL) side AmaZulu and Tafadzwa Kutinyu from Notwane in the Botswana be Mobile League.
Speaking to the Cosafa.com website ahead of the finals, Tapera, whose charges will also face Botswana, said they are well prepared for the tournament.
“It is tough, but you know, we will be prepared for whoever we face in this tournament. There are some excellent teams and if we are to do well and go far, then we are going to have to beat the best. The teams will be concentrating on the development of their youngsters of course and that makes it difficult to know what make-up they will have. But we respect all teams,” he said.
Tapera draws most of his players from the Castle Lager PSL where he has called on the experienced Ronald Pfumbidzai from Caps United and goalkeeper Benard Donovan, Walter Musona and Wisdom Mutasa, who were on loan to relegated Motor Action last season.
Zimbabwe’s biggest challengers will be Zambia, who are aiming for a fourth successive Cosafa Youth Championship title following wins in 2011, 2010 and 2009.
Young Chipolopolo are in Group C with the Seychelles, Namibia and archrivals South Africa who have won the competition five times.
Zambia, who have won the competition 11 times, take on Namibia in their opening Group C game at Mafeteng today before facing South Africa on Saturday, the same day that Zimbabwe will be playing Botswana.
Zimbabwe U-20 Squad:
Tatenda Makuruva (Dynamos), Benard Donovan, Walter Musona, Wisdom Mutasa (all Motor Action), Ronald Pfumbidzai, Takudzwa Mahori (Caps United), Pritchard Mphelele (Hwange), Teenage Hadebe (Bantu Rovers), Praise Tonha (Monomotapa), Munyaradzi Diro-Nyenye (Harare City), Michael Maipe-Ngwena (Black Mambas), Emmaculate Mauna, Livingstone Genti, Jimmy Kanono (all FC Platinum), Carlos Rusere (DC Academy), Liberty Chakoroma (Buffaloes), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Notwane, Botswana), Brett Amidu (AmaZulu, South Africa), Tinotenda Kadewera (Prince Edward High School), Mgcini Sibanda (Highlanders)