ZIMBABWE Under-23 coach, Tonderai Ndiraya, says the inclusion of foreign-based players in his squad is key in their efforts to come up with a formidable side to take on Mozambique in the second round of the qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations this month.
The Young Warriors get their campaign underway for the Under-23 tournament on March 22 in Maputo after having received a bye in the first round.
The reverse fixture will be in Harare four days later.
Ndiraya announced a 27-member provisional squad yesterday which includes seven foreign-based players, including the pair of midfielders — Shama Bako and Seth Patrick, who both ply their trade at Vfb Luebeck in Germany.
He also roped in United States-based Farai Mutatu and Reward Mwakona based in Northern Ireland.
“I think the other age-groups were benefiting but the Under-23s had been neglected and it has really given these boys an opportunity to play international football and perhaps push forward their careers and you never know what will happen.
“And, because of the disparity between the two set of players, we have those coming from Europe, and those who are based here at home, we have a league starting in a few weeks’ time, of course, the league is starting after our match and that has really given us some headache.
“But, I think, that’s the reason we have really opted for quite a number of foreigners who are coming in with the fitness, which is required to play a football match, and I hope they will do just that.
“They will really complement the fitness of the local guys who haven’t started their matches yet,” said Ndiraya.
The local players are scheduled to report for camp today in Harare while the foreign-based are expected next week on Monday.
Ndiraya, however, made it clear the players will have to prove themselves to be included in the final team.
He also included some of the players who were part of the Under-20 side that finished runners-up in Zambia at the Under-20 COSAFA Championship last year.
Goalkeepers: Martin Mapisa (Velez CF, Spain), Nelson Chadya (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Spencer Ngwerume (FC Platinum).
Defenders: Reward Mwakona (Ards FC, Northern Ireland), Enrique Ndlovu (AS Trencin, Slovakia), Hastings Chapusha (Harare City), Mbongeni Ndlovu (Highlanders), Peace Makaha (Manica Diamonds), Shadreck Nyahwa (Bulawayo Chiefs), Marvelous Chigumira (TelOne), Colin Mujuru (Harare City).
Midfielders: Tatenda Tavengwa (Harare City), Marlvin Kwinjo (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Kudzai Dhemere (Dynamos), Farai Mutatu (Michigan State, USA), Shama Bako (Vfb Luebeck, Germany), Seth Patrick (Vfb Luebeck, Germany), Kelvin Ndebele (Caps United), Matifadza Zata (Dundee United, Scotland), Anelka Chivandire (Triangle United), Nicholas Guyo (Ubuntu, South Africa).
Strikers: Delic Murimba (Triangle United), Junior Zindoga (Maritzburg United, South Africa)|, Prince Dube (Highlanders), Wilfred Muvirimi (Harare City), Aubriel Chirinda (Chicken Inn), Tinotenda Benza (Herentals).