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Confusion stalks Zifa…as Tapera disowns 3 national team squads

The initial Cosafa squad was announced at the start of this month, the one ZIFA has inexplicably altered twice.

Warriors interim coach Jairosi Tapera has disowned the three different national team squads that have been announced by ZIFA for this week's Cosafa Cup tournament in South Africa as controversy surrounding the national team selection continues.

The beleaguered ZIFA yesterday afternoon announced a "revised squad" for the regional tournament, just days after it had released another squad which was nicodemusly published around midnight on Friday.

The initial Cosafa squad was announced at the start of this month, the one ZIFA has inexplicably altered twice.

Tapera who was also not consulted when the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Lesotho were announced, two games which he went on to preside over earlier this month, has distanced himself from the selection circus.

The former Young Warriors coach said he didn't input anything in the squads that had been announced.

"It's very unfortunate, surely," the Manica Diamonds coach said

"I have seen more than 10 teams that have been flighted into the press, with different names. But I'm telling you (i dont know about those teams), my team which I'm going to announce is the team that I'm going with to South Africa. I haven't announced my squad. You will see mine either today (Sunday) or tomorrow (Monday) when we go into camp and you will see how the squad is."

ZIFA could not be reached for a comment, but it has emerged that the association currently run by a FIFA appointed Normalisation Committee whose calamitous term ends on next week, has been captured by a clique of cartels and dubious football agents who influence the selection of players into the Warriors squad.

When asked to comment on the confusion that surrounds the selection of the team by ZIFA, Tapera said, "That I don't know, I can't comment on what the office has done. I can only comment on what I have done."

Tapera revealed that he had wanted to call a number of foreign based players for the Cosafa tournament, in particular those based in England, but could not do so as many are already in pre-season with their respective clubs.

Cosafa is not on the FIFA calendar for international games.

In the end, he managed to get only three England based players for the tournament.

He said Brentford goalkeeper Marley Tavaziva, Shane Maroodza of Huddersfield and Joey Phuthi of Sheffield United have confirmed their availability.

"They are coming down on Tuesday or Wednesday," Tapera said.

He said his squad for the tournament is dominated by Under-23 players

"The average age is 23," Tapera said. "We have two or three senior players just to stabilize the ship. We have some players in the squad who have proven that they can play in the team and we are giving the youngsters an opportunity to be seen, to improve so that was we go forward and play in the CHAN we will have a wide range of selection."

He called for fans to be patient with the young squad. He said the object is not to win the Cosafa tournament but to develop the players and prepare them for future assignments including the CHAN tournament and tye Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers set for later this year.

"We have become so bitter as Zimbabweans in whatever we do. Instead of taking things as they are, we seem to be fighting each other every time. As an interim technical team, we are there to coach football and nothing else. When we select players, we don't look at where they come from. We select Zimbabwean players who are good enough to represent the country. We just need to refocus ourselves as people and build the Zimbabwe that we want all, instead of criticizing each other unnecessarily. It's very unfortunate that we have become such a people."

The Warriors Cosafa squad is expected to start camp today in Harare ahead of their departure to South Africa tomorrow for the  tournament scheduled to start on Wednesday in Port Elizabeth.

Zimbabwe are in Group B together with Zambia, Kenya and Comoros.

Their first game is against Comoros on Thursday.

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