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Litmus test for Warriors

Ndamu Sandu

WARRIORS mentor Charles Mhlauri has the opportunity to assess the pedigree of local players ahead of the World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Gabon as he leads his charges in the Cos

afa Castle Cup tourney in Namibia tomorrow.

The new format for the regional tournament sees Zimbabwe lock horns with Mozambique in Group B while hosts Namibia engage Botswana.

Twelve Cosafa member countries are drawn into three groups of four, with the 13th side, the defending champions, coming in later.

Group A has South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius and Madagascar.

Group B has Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana, while Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland make up Group C.

Teams in each group are drawn into semi-finals with the winners playing the final the following day.

The three winners of the finals in each group will be pooled into a group together with reigning champions Angola.

The semi-finals will be played on August 13 at a venue to be announced. The third-place play off and the final are on August 14.

South Africa won Group A in matches played earlier this year. The winners in Group C will be decided on the weekend of June 11-12 in Lusaka.

Tomorrow’s match is a litmus test for local players to prove their mettle if they entertain any chances of playing in the Zimbabwe/Gabon encounter.

Foreign-based players made the bulk of the team against Angola last month.

Mhlauri’s team features national team goalkeepers Energy Murambadoro, Tapuwa Kapini and Leo Kurauzvione — members of the Warriors team in the Nations Cup final in Tunisia last year.

James Matola and Herbert Dick will hold the fort at the heart of defence.

Reigning Soccer Star of the Year Cephas Chimedza will operate from his favourite left wingback position with teammate David Sengu filling the right back slot. Kurauzvione, Honour Gombami, Raymond Undi and Clement Matawu are expected to drive the midfield department in a 4-4-2 formation. Upfront Mhlauri can pair Leonard Tsipa and Brian Badza. Sageby Sandaka is also available for selection.

Talismanic Caps United winger Raymond Undi and Brain Badza are also available for selection.

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