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Gorowa to choose opponents

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ZIFA has asked the Warriors technical team to name international friendly match opponents of their choice as they try to move a gear up in preparation for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.

MICHAEL MADYIRA
sports reporter

The preparations got underway last month with a 4-1 friendly match win against Malawi in Blantyre. Zimbabwe begin their bid for Morocco 2015 next month. In what is a rare privilege for coach Ian Gorowa (pictured) and his men who often battle to secure competitive opponents in friendlies, they have been afforded the luxury of choosing their own preferred sparring partners.

Libya and Swaziland have already written to Zifa requesting matches and Gorowa would have a final say if he deems either or both fit to offer a strong challenge.

Although Zifa are cash-strapped and struggle to arrange travelling for away assignments, they would want to take full advantage of next month’s friendly match activities ahead of June’s Fifa World Cup.

The European off-season would also see most African countries that did not qualify for the World Cup involved in friendlies because of the availability of their overseas-based stars. Libya want to meet the Warriors in Harare or at a neutral venue since the North Africans are currently barred by Caf from hosting international matches due to political turmoil.

“What are your programmes for May 25 Fifa friendly match date? Do you need a game in Harare or abroad? I am waiting for your reply,” Libyan match agent Mahmoud bin Saed wrote to Zifa last week.

While Gorowa was unavailable to make available his preferred opponents, Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze said they expected the technical team to get back to them soon after the Easter holidays.

“We have written to a few countries requesting friendlies with them next month and we have not got any responses so far,” Mashingaidze said.

“To widen our options as well as better response chances, we have asked the technical team to give us the team they would wish to play against. We want the friendly to be early next month.”

Currently ranked 26 in Africa, the Warriors will start their Afcon qualifiers next month by taking part in the second qualification round meant for the first round victors and countries ranked between 22 and 47.

The draw for this knockout second round is scheduled for next Sunday in Cairo.

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