Taifa Stars to test Gorowa

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IAN GOROWA’S coaching credentials go under test in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations as he begins the long road to Morocco this weekend.
Gorowa carries the hopes of a success-starved nation – football wise – when the Zimbabwe senior men’s soccer team travels to Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania, for a first leg first round qualifier match.
The match will be played on Sunday at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.
The Warriors who will be aiming for a third appearance at the continental soccer showcase will need to win the two legged first round stage before they proceed to meet the winner between Mozambique and South Sudan.
Zimbabwe will need to win in the second round and proceed to the group stages.
Zimbabwe are in Group E together with Cape Verde, Zambia and Niger.
Only two teams from each of the seven groups will qualify for the biannual tournament.
The best third-placed team will also qualify together with the hosts to bring the total number of participants to 16.
The Warriors gaffer named a 22-member squad expected to deliver in the Central African country.
The squad will be trimmed to 18.
Locally-based players made the bulk of the team who are part of the recalled squad.
Six foreign-based players made it into the squad.
South African-based players Washington Arubi, Willard Katsande, Tendai Ndoro, Simba Sithole, Kingstone Nkatha and Cuthbert Malajila are the foreign-based players expected to gel with the local talent.
South Africa bound George Chigova got the national duty call and Gorowa might be spoilt for choice on goalkeepers.
Highlanders’ Munyaradzi Diya who is enjoying his career at the Bulawayo side is another hopeful for the number one jersey on Sunday.
Arubi and Chigova were former teammates with the latter being a second choice.
Chigova may start between the posts as he has gelled well with the team.
At CHAN in South Africa earlier this year, he demonstrated his prowess between the sticks as he conceded less goals.
He maintained a clean sheet till the quarter finals stage.
The Warriors defence will be commanded by the locally-based players.
The tried and tested central defence combination of Eric Chipeta and Partson Jaure might be called into action again in Tanzania.
Jaure and Chipeta’s combination was tough as teak complemented by Hardlife Zvirekwi and Milton Ncube on the flanks to make the defence quartet at the CHAN tournament in January.
Former Underhill FC defender Sidney Linyama is another defence option for the technical team.
Linyama’s experience may be needed depending on the formation Gorowa uses for the day.
The Warriors may opt for a draw away from home before going for the kill in the reverse fixture to be played a week later in Harare.
The midfield may also present a headache for the technical team.
Kaiser Chiefs midfielder Katsande is expected to command the Warriors’ engine room.
Katsande’s efforts in the ABSA premiership did not go unnoticed as he is vying for the PSL top accolade for the 2013/2014 season.
Katsande is expected to be complemented by Chicken Inn’s Danisa Phiri, Peter Moyo and Steven Alimenda. Pascal Manhanga is another jewel who can earn a midfield role.
Upfront, Gorowa has five strikers to consider.
Kuda Mahachi, Ndoro, Sithole, Nkatha and Malajila are all hopefuls for the gunslinger position.
Mahachi was a marvel at CHAN and his star continues to rise in the local premiership while former teammate Ndoro has had an average season at Mpumalanga Black Aces.
Ndoro might probably be introduced as an impact substitution.
Nkatha has been in terrific form at Amakhosi in the just-ended ABSA premiership season, but the headache might be on the combination.
Sithole after making a mark at the CHAN, failed to establish himself at the Urban Warriors.
Basing on his performance in Cape Town, Sithole may not make the grade. Malajila is another striker who may don the jersey, but his shyness on goal is the only problem.
Zimbabwe will need at least a scoring draw in Dar-es-Salam to avoid pressure on the second leg.
Zimbabwe Squad
Goalkeepers: W Arubi, G Chigova, M Diya
Defenders: H Zvirekwi, E Chipeta, P Jaure, S Linyama, M Ncube, R Pfumbidzai
Midfielders: W Katsande, D Phiri, P Manhanga, S Alimenda, N Masuku, P Moyo, M Mudewe, T Chawapiwa,
Strikers: K Mahachi, T Ndoro, S Sithole (Ajax Cape Town), K Nkatha, C Malajila

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