Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter—
PROPHET Walter Magaya has once again opened his exclusive Yadah Hotel complex in Harare to the Warriors for the CHAN qualifier preparations against Namibia in Windhoek on Sunday.It’s the second time, in as many months, that the football-mad prophet, who owns Premiership club Yadah Stars, has opened his Yadah Hotel to the Warriors as they prepare for a national assignment.
Last month, Magaya provided the Warriors with accommodation, food, laundry facilities, transport and a training ground at the five-star complex as they prepared for a 2019 AFCON qualifier against Liberia.
The Warriors won that match 3-0 with new captain Knowledge Musona, who described the camping facilities as the best he has stayed at in his adventure with the senior national team, scoring a hat-trick in that match.
Former Warriors skipper Benjani Mwaruwari then visited the complex two weeks ago to thank Magaya for his gesture towards the senior national team. ZIFA’s calculations showed that Magaya’s benevolence during the preparations for the 2019 AFCON qualifiers helped save the Association about $65 000 which could have gone towards the accommodation, transport, laundry, food and training ground costs for the Warriors.
The prophet was disappointed last month when some parliamentarians appeared to question his motives to host the Warriors, including wild claims that he was trying to boost the appeal of his Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries.
But the prophet, whose passion for the Warriors saw him watching some of their training sessions ahead of their COSAFA Castle Cup adventure, has once again opened his hotel’s doors to the team.
Yesterday, some of the players and technical staff began trooping into camp at the Yadah Hotel complex. Team manager Wellington Mpandare said 11 members of the 18 players called into camp had checked in by late afternoon. He said they had hoped to start training yesterday, but will only get the ball rolling today when everyone has reported for duty.
“The players have started coming into camp and I understand more than half have checked in at the Yadah Hotel. Some are still on their way and we had hoped they will have their first training late in the afternoon (yesterday).
“But remember some of the guys have been away from home for about three weeks now because of the COSAFA tournament. So they probably wanted to see their families,” said Mpandare.
Skipper Ocean Mushure, Raphael Manuvire, Liberty Chakoroma, Gerald Takwara, Prince Dube and goalkeeper Takabva Mawaya are some of the players that have been retained from the triumphant COSAFA Castle Cup squad.
The technical team has also called the CAPS United trio of Ronald “Rooney” Chitiyo, Abbas Amidu and Moses Muchenje while Dynamos also contributed three players Obey Mwerahari, Emmanuel Mandiranga and Ocean Mushure.
Chicken Inn leftback Divine Lunga has also returned to the squad alongside new Yadah defender Denis Dauda and impressive Black Rhinos goalkeeper Herbert Rusawo.
Pacy midfielder Talent Chawapihwa, who had a tournament of his life at the COSAFA Cup, will also be available amid a scramble for his signature by foreign teams. The Warriors have never failed to qualify for the CHAN tournament since its inauguration in 2009.
Mpandare said the Warriors will be fresh enough for the challenge. “I am sure they have had enough rest since the COSAFA Cup. Those who were at the tournament played their last match on Sunday and the next game will be the CHAN qualifier exactly a week later.
“We also have some fresh players coming in and the good thing is they are coming from a league that is currently active. So we don’t expect many problems,” said Mpandare.
Sunday Chidzambwa will be in charge of the team and will be assisted by the same duo that helped him win the COSAFA Castle Cup — Lloyd Mutasa and Bongani Mafu.
Goalkeepers: Takabva Mawaya (Ngezi Platinum), Herbert Rusawo (Black Rhinos)
Defenders: Obey Mwerahari (Dynamos), Devine Lunga (Chicken Inn), Jimmy Dzingai (Yadah FC), Dennis Dauda (Yadah FC), Jimmy Tigere (Harare City)
Midfielders: Ocean Mushure (Dynamos), Moses Muchenje (CAPS United), Gerald Takwara (FC Platinum), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum), Talent Chawapihwa (FC Platinum), Emmanuel Mandiranga (Dynamos), Raphael Manuvire (ZPC Kariba), Ronald Chitiyo (CAPS United)
Strikers: Abbas Amidu (CAPS United), Prince Dube (Highlanders), Terrence Dzukamanja (Ngezi Platinum)