IT is common knowledge that the Warriors coach Sunday Marimo prefers a conservative approach to every soccer match but now it appears he has to adjust and start preparing a team for the future.<
For him to drag Callisto Pasuwa from the archives and thrust him into battle for the entire 90 minutes of a Cosafa Castle match Cup against South Africa last week, raised a lot of questions about Marimo’s vision.
The Warriors’ qualification for the 2004 African Cup of Nations finals in Tunisia next year invariably compels Marimo to start preparing the team for the continental showcase. This means incorporating new blood into the old team as well as widening the selection base.
By local standards, the Warriors would not get enough opportunities to play good international friendly matches ahead of the finals. The euphoria and enthusiasm currently engulfing the country following the Warriors’ qualification will soon fade away and it will be back to the basics – the usual stories of lack of funds, unavailability of foreign based players and so on.
This therefore means that Marimo should not expect a more glorious opportunity at which to start preparations.
It is good that the Warriors are still in this year’s Cosafa Castle Cup competition and stand a realistic chance of reaching the finals. That is the certain and probably only opportunity for preparations ahead of next year’s finals. The regional tournament not only ensures fewer expenses as it is fully funded but also offers an opportunity to try several options.
It is clear and appreciated that at the moment Marimo is prioritising winning the Cosafa Cup. That explains his “not taking chances” attitude and sticking to his current best team at a time when the likes of Shingirai Kawondera, Eddie Mashiri, Tinashe Nengomasha, Ephraim Mazarura, David Guyo, Musawenkosi Mguni, Norman Maroto, Nyasha Chazika, Clement Mutawu, Musareka Jenitala and Newton Katanha should be cast into the fray.
These players should be assessed against tough teams and not wait for a low profile friendly match against a makeshift Lesotho or Zambia.
The reality will subsequently emerge in Tunisia next year when the Warriors will be looking to the likes of Benjani Mwaruwari, George Mbwando, Zenzo Moyo, Kennedy Chihuri and Kawondera, who would have joined camp late from their overseas bases.
The South Africa-based players who include Charles Yohane, Dumisani Mpofu, Kaitano Tembo, Adam Ndlovu and Tinashe Nengomasha are also unlikely to be in camp in good time.
These foreign based players will be expected to team up with the locally based contingent to do battle for Zimbabwe against the more organised countries.
South Africa took the risk and fielded a future team last weekend against the Warriors. The players – none of them a big name – gave a good account of themselves. They could have easily upset the Warriors had they managed to put away at least three clear chances they created in front of goal.
In the end they fell to a solitary Lazarus Muhoni strike.
The Bafana Bafana technical department will move on from there and draft some of last week’s novices into the pool for Tunisia.