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Warriors in tough Cosafa draw


FOLLOWING their disappointing two consecutive defeats to Lesotho and South Africa in the Fifa World Cup qualifiers last week, the Warriors will have a chance to redeem themselves when they take part in next week’s Cosafa Cup tournament scheduled for Durban, South Africa.

The tournament was initially scheduled to kick-off on Thursday, but will now take place from June 26 to July 7, with participating teams looking to clinch the region’s premier title.

For Zimbabwe, the tournament presents a chance for the team to make up for last week’s disastrous showing in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

The Warriors went down 2-0 to Lesotho last week Friday before they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to South Africa on Tuesday, two results that left Zimbabwe rooted at the bottom of Group C with two points from four matches.

However, the Warriors will have to up their game if they are to stand any chance of leaving a mark at the tournament after they were drawn in a tough Group B, that also features record seven-time winners and defending champions Zambia.

Chipolopolo will be looking to become the first team to win three Cosafa Cup titles in a row.

The group also has Comoros, while the fourth team in that pool, likely to be Malawi and coached by former Dynamos coach Kalisto Pasuwa, will be confirmed in due course.

The Warriors are returning to the tournament after missing last year’s edition due to a Fifa ban.

The team will travel to Durban under interim coach Jairos Tapera, who had already named the squad for the assignment before it was postponed.

The Manica Diamonds coach, who was also in charge of the Lesotho and South Africa games, had called a team made up of fringe players.

From the list of the players that was in the World Cup squad, only five players — goalkeeper Geofrey Chitsumba, Andrew Mbeba, Daniel Musendami, Joey Phuthi and Richard Hachiro   were retained for the Cosafa tournament.

The Cosafa tournament draw was conducted in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday morning and will see hosts South Africa and Botswana lock horns in Group A.

Mozambique and Eswatini make up the other sides in the pool.

Last year’s runners-up Lesotho are in Group C, along with three-time winners Angola, 2015 champions Namibia and Seychelles.

The pool games will be played from June 26 to July 3, with the semi-finals on July 5 and the third-place play-off and final to be staged two days later.

The format ensures each country plays a minimum of three games up to a maximum of five over the course of the competition.

2024 Cosafa Cup draw

Group A: South Africa, Mozambique, Eswatini, Botswana

Group B: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Team to be confirmed, Comoros

Group C: Angola, Namibia, Lesotho, Seychelles

Warriors Cosafa squad

Goalkeepers: Marley Tavaziva (Brentford), Geoffrey Chitsumba (Manica Diamonds), Prince Tafiremutsa (Dynamos)

Defenders: Shane Maroodza (Huddersfield), Andrew Mbeba (Highlanders), Emmanuel Jalai (Dynamos), Thubelihle Jubani (Manica Diamonds), Isheanesu Mauchi (Simba Bhora), Tawanda Chisi (Manica Diamonds)

Midfielders: Daniel Msendami (Jwaneng Galaxy), Joel Phuthi (Sheffield Wednesday), Juan Mutudza (FC Platinum), Kingsley Mureremba (Caps United), Mtokozisi Msebe (Simba Bhora), Tatenda Tavengwa (Venda Football Academy), Richard Hachiro (Ngezi Platinum), Panashe Mutimbanyoka (FC Platinum), Tinotenda Meke (GreenFuel).

Forwards: Macauley Bonne (Cambridge United), Takunda Benhura (Ngezi Platinum), Tinotenda Benza (Herentals), Denzel Mapuwa (GreenFuel)

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