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Legends rally behind Warriors ahead of Lesotho tie

Peter Ndlovu

CELEBRATED former Zimbabwe captain Peter Ndlovu and fellow legends visited the Warriors training base in South Africa yesterday and gave a word of encouragement to the players ahead of the team's upcoming back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and South Africa.

Zimbabwe “host” Lesotho at Orlando Stadium in Soweto tomorrow afternoon before travelling to Bloemfontein to face off with South Africa on Tuesday.

Tomorrow's match kicks off at 3pm.

The Warriors are playing their home match against Lesotho in South Africa because the country does not have a Caf certified stadium.

The Warriors began camp in Johannesburg on Monday ahead of the two crucial matches. The team  yesterday received special guests at their training base when Ndlovu and several other former players paid a visit to motivate the players.

The former captain was joined by Edelbert Dinha, Alexander Maseko, Kingstone Nkhata, Tapuwa Kapini, Zhaimu Jambo and Innocent Chikoya.

“It was a meet and greet, then a quick word of encouragement and motivation from all the legends," said Warriors media officer Mike Madoda.

“Certainly a good gesture by the legends and the players appreciated it.”

The other good news in the Warriors camp is that talented striker Tawanda Chirewa has since obtained his Zimbabwean passport and is eligible to feature for the Warriors tomorrow. The Wolverhampton star's participation against Lesotho was hanging in the balance as he was holding a British passport.

But the 23-year-old who was born in England to Zimbabwean parents flew into Harare on Tuesday night to sort his papers.

“He returned to Johannesburg this afternoon [Wednesday], with his passport,” Madoda said yesterday.

Chirewa missed the team's morning training session, together with Walter Musona who is down with a bout of flue.

Midfielder Andy Rinemhota picked a knock during the morning session, “but it doesn't look much of a concern,” Madoda added.

Defender Teenage Hadebe, absent since Monday after he asked to be excused to sort out his club future, has also joined camp.

England-based defender Brendon Galloway has been ruled out of the two matches after picking an injury prior to reporting for national duty.

Madoda said camp has gone well so far and the team had a good video analysis session on Tuesday afternoon.

“It was a very useful session. The analyst analysed Lesotho based on their last few matches. It was good and you could tell by the way the players were paying attention. It was also very interactive, with the players asking questions.”

Zimbabwe will be looking for only their first win in this Group having shared points with Rwanda and Nigeria in their first two matches under Portuguese coach Baltemar Brito last year.

Brito has since left and replaced by Jairosi Tapera who is working on an interim basis.

Warriors squad

Goalkeepers: Bernard Donovan (Chicken Inn), Martin Mapisa (Dynamos), Geofrey Chitsumba (Manica Diamonds).

Defenders: Gerald Takwara (Ohod, Saudi Arabia), Teenage Hadebe (Konyaspor, Turkey), Munashe Garananga (Kv Mechelen, Belgium), Andrew Mbeba (Highlanders), Godknows Murwira (Caps United), Shane Maroodza (Huddersfield, ENG), Devine Lunga (Mamelodi Sundowns, SA).

Midfielders: Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims, (FR), Andy Rinemhota (Rotherham United (ENG), Jordan Zemura (Udenese, Italy), Walter Musona (Simba Bhora), Daniel Msendami (Jwaneng Galaxy, Botswana), Tivonge Rushesha (Reading, ENG), Joey Phuthi (Sheffield Wednesday, ENG), Tawanda Maswanhise (Leicester City, ENG).

Forwards: Tinotenda Kadewere (Fc Nantes, FR), Tawanda Chirewa (Wolverhampton, ENG), Douglas Mapfumo (Polokwane, SA), Tymon Machope (Simba Bhora).

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