Zimbabwe close in on final Under-17 squad

Zimbabwe coach Moses Chunga is narrowing down his squad for the COSAFA Under-17 Championships that will be staged in Mauritius from July 21-30.

Zimbabwe make a return to the competition having been inactive at this age-group level for some years, and will be looking to repeat the success of the senior national team, who claimed the COSAFA Castle Cup trophy on Sunday with victory over Zambia in the final in South Africa.

Chunga has been on a hunt for the best young talent and is getting closer to his final squad for the regional championship.

“For the past few years we have been inactive in the COSAFA tournament for this age group and so we are starting from zero as opposed to the team which went to South Africa,” he told reporters.

“There is a lot of hard work to be done, we will focus on developing the future stars and I don’t think we are under any pressure compared to those guys, [senior national team coaches] Sunday Chidzambwa and Norman Mapeza, who are dealing with the end product.

“We are only a conveyor belt trying to groom those players.”

Chunga says they have been unable to assess youngsters from all over the country, but believes the squad that they will put together will be a good one.

“It is not the best squad because we didn’t manage to do the trials nationwide due to lack of time. But we tried to have a mixture of some decent players,” he says.

“We have players from trust schools and we have players from mission schools and so forth. I believe it is a better representation for the age group.

“I am happy for the youngsters. They will get some exposure which is important at this stage of their careers.”

Zimbabwe have yet to lift the regional Under-17 championship and will hopeful of winning a first title in Mauritius.

They have been raw in Group A along with the hosts, who they meet on July 22, Malawi (July 24) and Botswana (July 26).
Group B contains Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar.