Mukudzei Chingwere Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE national Under-23 head coach Tonderayi Ndiraya has said foreign players will be crucial to his team’s chances of qualifying for the Under-23 African Cup of Nations finals in Egypt later this year.
The Young Warriors have a date against Mozambique in back-to-back qualifiers next month and the gaffer is determined to make a mark with the team after prolonged years of inactivity.
Ndiraya said, unlike players based in Zimbabwe who are currently on an off-season break, it will be important to incorporate those playing beyond the country’s borders whose leagues are already running.
“We are casting our net wider. We want everyone who is eligible to play for the Young Warriors to be available for selection. I want to have the best possible squad at our disposal.
“Players who are playing beyond our borders, in South Africa and Europe are active now. Their leagues are running and they have the much-needed match fitness ahead of our game next month.
“But we are just not looking at those playing beyond our borders. We want quality, I am assessing everyone and we are doing researches for both locally and foreign-based players. Local players are on pre-season, but I have been following some and I am glad that all their clubs have started pre-season training in time,” said Ndiraya.
Ndiraya said it will be important if he runs the ruler on those eligible to play for his team before they are thrust into the Warriors. “As much as we have our objectives as the Young Warriors, I think it is important for everyone to note that we are also a developmental side for the senior team. There are many players who have Zimbabwean origin and I want them to be part of us. If they excel in our team, it means they have the quality to play for the senior team.
“The association is doing very well to clear the path for them to represent the country and I am hopeful we will have a few available for our team,” he said.
The 20-year-old Spain-based duo of goalkeeper Martin Mapisa and central midfielder Abubakar Moffat have been doing well for their clubs and the good thing is that they already have Zimbabwean passports.
The South Africa-based duo of Nicholas Guyo and Kuda Mangami, CAPS United’s Blessing Sarupinda, Callisto Pasuwa’s son Kenny and Lloyd Mutasa’s son Panashe are also knocking hard on Ndiraya’s door.