AS the Under-21 squads go a gear up, in their Junior World Cup qualifiers build-up, the coaches have made it clear they need to make the most of the remaining few months before the competition. The Under-21s are set to fight for a place in the Junior World Cup at the qualifiers in Ghana in March. They will get their practice sessions underway today, with the men’s side having three groups in Harare, Chiredzi and Bulawayo. Coach Fidelis Majuba said today’s meeting will be focused on assessing the fitness levels of the players and they are also likely to start trimming down the squad.
“Basicall,y what’s happening is that the Under-21 will be going through fitness tests,’’ he said.
‘‘They were each given a training programme, for the last two months, because of Covid-19, we were not able to go out and actually train as a team.
“So, we are actually taking the opportunity now to try and see if we can asses their fitness and see if they are ready for competition.’’
Those in Harare will join the senior men squad, which is preparing for the Central-South Africa tournament, set for February. Some of the Under-21s are also vying for places in that senior side.
“Some of our Under-21 players are vying for places in the senior men’s team that will be competing in February. The fitness test is going to be held jointly with the (senior) men’s training camp and those Under-21s, vying for the (senior) men’s team, will take part in the Harare camp.
“I will host the Bulawayo camp, for the Southern region players that will be held tomorrow (today), at Petra High School and then in Chiredzi there will be another camp for Chiredzi-based players,” said Majuba.
They are hoping to announce the final team of 18 players, before the end of year.
The women’s side will also come together, for the first time this morning, at St John’s College, under the guidance of coach Tendayi Maredza.
With some of the players, making both the senior women and Under-21 squads, Maredza believes it’s an advantage as it will give them more game time before the World Cup qualifiers. The main focus now is to work on our team tactics and structure, play small-sided games and full games.
‘‘I am not worried about the basics as most of the girls have been working on that during the lockdown,’’ he said.
Maredza has worked with most of the players before, having been in charge of the Under-18 side that went for the Youth Olympic Games, in 2018.