Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
VETERAN coach Sunday Chidzambwa was the first to report for camp at the Yadah Complex yesterday as the Zimbabwe Legends squad got their preparations for the exhibition match against Barcelona Legends off to a slow start with the majority of the South Africa-based contingent expected last night.
Chidzambwa, who is currently the ZPC Kariba coach, was later joined by some former players who included Norman Mapeza, Zenzo Moyo, Ronald “Gidiza” Sibanda and Johhanes Ngodzo. The high-profile match has been set for the National Sports Stadium tomorrow. The Barcelona Legends are expected to arrive later in the evening from Mozambique where they are also scheduled to play against the Mambas Legends this afternoon.
The tourists will also be accommodated at the five-star Yadah Complex. ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa yesterday paid tribute to PHD Ministries founder Walter Magaya for accommodating the teams.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association president Dr Philip Chiyangwa and his board and general assembly would like express its sincere gratitude to PHD Ministries founder Prophet Walter Magaya for his offer of accommodation for the Zimbabwe and Barcelona Legends. It is a five-star splendid hotel that fits the magnitude of this forthcoming match and our heartfelt thanks to you and your team.
“We are eternally grateful and we do believe you are more than a worthy football partner, sponsor and investor. ZIFA would like to call upon other corporates to follow the example of Prophet Magaya in investing in this national sport as it promotes tourism and the much needed linkages between the national association and industry.
“Once again, Prophet Magaya, your gesture cannot be quantified but is certainly more than welcome and puts Zimbabwe right at the top of the football and tourism map,” said Chiyangwa.
Magaya has been named the Liaison Officer of the Warriors Legends. The majority of the Warriors Legends are expected to start trooping into camp today to start their preparations for the exhibition match against the Barcelona Legends. The yesteryear Zimbabwe players, most of whom have been inactive for long, need to be at their best against the Barcelona Legends who have been playing regularly.
ZIFA spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela yesterday maintained they are expecting the rest of the players today and the team will have time to train today under Chidzambwa. The squad has a mixture of players who made their mark from the 1990s up to the 2000s. But from the squad former skipper Ephraim Chawanda, Japhet Mparutsa, Muzondiwa Mugadza and Thulani Ncube have dropped.
Another ex-Warriors skipper Esrom Nyandoro may also not be available. But most of the players, including the legendary Peter Ndlovu, who were called in an enlarged squad are expected to be available for selection as the nation awaits to relieve memories of the yesteryear. Some of the ex-players who are expected to illuminate the afternoon for the hosts include the likes of Mapeza, Callisto Pasuwa, Kennedy Nagoli, Edward Sadomba, Tinashe Nengomasha, Joel Luphahla and Gift Muzadzi who still look fit for action.
The Warriors Legends also want former Bafana Bafana star Sibusiso Zuma to feature as a guest player for them tomorrow as part of their efforts to establish relations with their South African counterparts.
‘‘The guys talked to Sibusiso to see if he can play for the Warriors as their guest because they want to start having a good working relationship with their South African counterparts. Sibusiso is available and could be on the plane to Zimbabwe and, as this is part sport and part tourism, his inclusion fits well in the mission,’’ sources said.
The Barcelona Legends arrived in Mozambique on Thursday and were welcomed to a carnival atmosphere at the Maputo International Airport. Many Mozambicans flocked to see the stars led by their coach Albert Ferrer and skipper Patrick Kluivert. The other ex-stars like Rivaldo and Deco arrived later after using a different route that took them through Johannesburg.
The visitors are expected to bring a delegation of 30 members who include 20 players and 10 officials. Three members of the Barcelona TV will also accompany the team. The cheapest tickets for the game are $2.
Zimbabwe Legends Squad
Goalkeepers: Brenna Msiska, Muzondiwa Mugadza, Gift Muzadzi.
Defenders: Edelbert Dinha, Charles Yohane, Dumisani Mpofu, Dazzy Kapenya, Bhekithemba Ndlovu, Innocent Chikoya, Harlington Shereni, Norman Mapeza, Kaitano Tembo.
Midfielders: Callisto Pasuwa, Johannes Ngodzo, Kennedy Nagoli, Moses Chunga, Tinashe Nengomasha, Joel Lupahla, Desmond Maringwa, Ronald Sibanda.
Strikers: Edward Sadomba, Agent Sawu, Zenzo Moyo, Benjani Mwaruwari, Peter Ndlovu, Madinda Ndlovu, William Mugeyi, Wilfred Mugeyi, Ian Gorowa.