Paul Mundandi Sports Reporter
A NUMBER of local coaches, including Premiership title-winning coach Lloyd Chitembwe, have given their thumbs up to the provisional Warriors squad that was picked on Sunday ahead of next month’s African Cup of Nations soccer finals in Gabon.
Coach of the Year Chitembwe and his colleagues in the local Premiership have described the Warriors provisional squad for Gabon, that was released at the weekend, as the best that any mentor would come up with.
On Sunday, Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa announced a 31-member squad made up of local and foreign-based players.
The squad largely comprises players that featured in the AFCON qualifiers.
And the squad will be trimmed to 23 before the team leaves for the tournament which begins in Gabon on February 14 and will play in Group B against the continent’s powerhouses Algeria, Tunisia and Senegal.
But the squad — which is expected to go into camp this Thursday — has received thumbs up from local coaches.
Chitembwe, basking in the glory of lifting this year’s league title with CAPS United, was full of admiration for Pasuwa.
“I respect what the coach has come up with and I support his ideas. You will never find a perfect team and to be honest, it does not exist.
“Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or AC Milan are not perfect, they have some positions with players that are not that good.
“Such a team (a perfect one) doesn’t exist in the world of football and coaching is different from opinions.
“Every coach can come up with a different team.
“Even if the team fails we must keep on supporting the coach.
“Football is difficult. It was not going to be practical for him (Pasuwa) to come up with a team that everyone was going to agree with,” said Chitembwe.
The former CAPS United midfielder said it is far from possible for everyone to agree with the selection of a single individual hence people should always respect the coach’s decision.
“The Germany team won the (last) World Cup title but some people were critical of the selection. Even Portugal won the European Championship but still some people did not agree with the team’s selection.
“Pasuwa has to try and do what pleases him, he can’t please everybody.
“Even Jesus when he was on earth he did not please everyone and some people still did not agree with him besides the miracles he performed.
“I am 120 percent behind Pasuwa.
“As a coach you have to make decisions that are not popular. I won the league title with CAPS United and at times my team or the decisions I made were not popular (with the fans),” said Chitembwe.
Veteran coach David “Yogi ’Mandigora, one of Pasuwa’s mentors, also put his full weight behind the enlarged Warriors squad for AFCON.
“It is a very good squad and I wish them all the best of luck.
“The players and the technical team need to have confidence. I am excited that the coach has blended youth and experience. I see Pasuwa and his team going far (in Gabon),” said Mandigora.
Dynamos mentor Lloyd Mutasa feels the Warriors coach widely consulted before announcing his squad.
“Pasuwa has worked with these boys (before), he knows them very well and they also know what their coach wants. The truth is you can’t take everyone to AFCON.
“Pasuwa knows his philosophy. He has reached this far, so why give him the players of our choice.
“Why should people impose players on him, to me that is immaturity.
“Pasuwa consults and he has never made his decisions alone.
“I worked with him at Kiglon, Highway and Shooting Stars. He is very professional, calm and result oriented,” said Mutasa.
The former FC Platinum coach also waded into the topical subject of the omission of Pure Platinum Boys goalie Petros Mhari.
The national team coach stuck with his two trusted lieutenants Tatenda Mukuruva and Bernard Donovan and then added two new faces in Ngezi Platinum’s Nelson Chadya and Takabva Mawaya of ZPC Kariba.
There has been a lot of debate mainly on the social media where some local soccer fans feel that the Soccer Star of the Year second runner-up Mhari, who was also the best goal-minder in the top-flight this year, should have been finally rewarded with a place in the Warriors squad.
“I have worked with Petros and Tatenda, they are all good goalkeepers. His (Pasuwa’s) team is not made up of newcomers but he has selected the players he once worked with for continuity purposes.
“I give him a plus for that because he has avoided experimenting with his squad,” said Mutasa.
How Mine’s Zambian coach Kelvin Kaindu also backed the squad.
“The squad announced is very strong and very solid.
“He (Pasuwa) will need grace to pick his final 23, especially the players that suits his philosophy.
“I wish the coach, his technical department and the Warriors God’s favour in the AFCON tournament and I hope they will they will go past the group stages and fly the Zimbabwean flag high,” said Kaindu.
Zimbabwe provisional squad:
Goalkeepers: Donovan Bernard (How Mine), Tatenda Mukuruva (Dynamos), Nelson Chadya (Ngezi Platinum), Takabva Mawaya (ZPC Kariba).
Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu (AC Sparta Praga), Blessing Moyo (Maritzburg United), Bruce Kangwa (Azam FC), Elisha Muroiwa (Dynamos), Hardlife Zvirekwi (CAPS United), Oscar Machapa (AS Vita Club), Liberty Chakoroma (Ngezi Platinum), Onismor Bhasera (Supersport United), Lawrence Mhlanga (Chicken Inn), Teenage Hadebe (Chicken Inn), Tendai Ndlovu (Highlanders).
Midfielders: Danny Phiri (Golden Arrows), Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs), Khama Billiat (Mamelodi Sundowns), Raphael Kutinyu (Chicken Inn), Kudakwashe Mahachi (Golden Arrows), Marshall Mudehwe (FC Platinum), Talent Chawapiwa (ZPC Kariba), Marvelous Nakamba (Vitesse Arnhem), Ronald Chitiyo (Harare City).
Strikers: Cuthbert Malajila (Bidvest Wits), Evans Rusike (Maritzburg United), Knowledge Musona (KV Oostende), Nyasha Mushekwi (Dalian Yifang), Mathew Rusike (Helsingborgs IF), Tendai Ndoro (Orlando Pirates), Tinotenda Kadewere (Djurgardens IF).