WITH the 2004 African Cup of Nations dream having come true a fortnight ago, Zimbabwe shift attention to the Cosafa Castle Cup soccer competition with a quarter-final match against South Africa i
n East London tomorrow.
The Warriors, on cloud nine after making their debut appearance at the biennial continental soccer showcase in Tunisia, will be out to prove that their qualification was no fluke.
They will be hoping to repeat their 2000 feat when a Kaitano Tembo header gave them a 1-0 victory in a semi-final duel against Bafana Bafana in Port Elizabeth.
The Warriors’ cause received a major boost after South Africa, who have not been taking the tournament seriously, named a second string side for the tie.
In addition, inspirational captain Peter Ndlovu who last week announced that he might quit international football, said he would be available for selection tomorrow.
Ndlovu, the driving force behind the Warriors in their African Cup of Nations campaign, is once again expected to play a leading role in his nation’s quest for the second Cosafa Cup silverware. Zimbabwe’s performance in the Cosafa has been inconsistent. After winning the Cup in 2000, Zimbabwe lost to Angola in the finals in 2001.
Last year, under the guidance of Wieslaw Grabowski, the Warriors lost to Swaziland in the early stages of the regional competition at the National Sports Stadium.
Dependable goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro is unlikely to be displaced by the national Under-23 goalminder Tapuwa Kapini.
In defence, Marimo has a wide selection base which includes Charles Yohane, Bekithemba Ndlovu, Dumisani Mpofu, Lenny Gwata, Dickson Choto and Dazzy Kapenya.
Johannes Ngodzo, Zimbabwe’s finest midfielder at the moment, is out through injury. But the likes of Esrom Nyandoro, Lazarus Muhoni, Eddie Mashiri, Siza Khoza, Callisto Pasuwa and Lloyd Chitembwe will be vying for positions.
Ndlovu will be joined by his brother Adam, Chipo Tsodzo and Shingi Kowondera in contention for places in attack.