THE countdown to the defining moment for the Zimbabwe national soccer team, the Warriors, has entered the home stretch as the team braces to host El Salvador in a friendly encounter at the Natio
nal Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Sunday Marimo, Warriors head coach is expected to announce his final squad in the coming weeks after many fits and starts regarding preparations for the showcase.
Marimo’s trump card and captain, England-based Peter Ndlovu as well as other overseas-based players such as midfielder George Mbwando would only join the squad with a few days before departure for the litmus test at Africa’s grand occasion.
Gokwe bred towering goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro, basking in glory after winning this year’s Castle Lager Soccer Star Award, will have to shrug off a recurring calf injury before being confirmed for the continental rendezvous.
Murambadoro was excluded from the friendly match against Botswana last month but said this week that an individual intensive workout in Kariba last week is hoped to overcome the stubborn injury. He will be available for selection for this Sunday’s match in Harare.
The 24-member squad that went into camp in Harare yesterday comprises three foreign-based players – strikers Zenzo Moyo and Joel Lupahla – and defender Dickson Choto. The rest of the squad is made up of locally-based players and Marimo still has to make his plans leaving room for several South African-based players who are set to gain places in the final squad.
Charles Yohane, Kaitano Tembo, Alois Bunjira and Tinashe Nengomasha based in South Africa are tipped to make the final list for Tunisia.
Only one other friendly match against Zambia in Harare has been confirmed for the Warriors before leaving for Tunisia where they engage Egypt,
Cameroon and Algeria in Group C.
El Salvador is expected to put up a competitive match against the Warriors on Sunday, judging by their hailing from Central America, where soccer is well-developed.
However, the predicament still remains for Marimo – having very few players for the match on Sunday that could make the final squad for Tunisia.