Zimbabwe coach Bekithemba Ndlovu is confident of his side’s success in the 2017 Mopani Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships that get under way in Zambia on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe, who are six times regional champions, will be among the pre-tournament favourites again this time round, even if they do have a challenging pool that also contains Angola, Lesotho and Namibia.
Only the top team in each pool and the best runner-up advance to the semifinals. But Ndlovu says preparations have gone smoothly and they will be ready for their tournament opener against Lesotho at the Nkana Stadium on Thursday.
“For the days we have been working, we have managed to establish a good team which can stand in Zambia. We have been doing tactical work, they are adapting well to the philosophy and how we want them to play,” Ndlovu told reporters before the team’s departure for the tournament.
“Going to the tournament, we are going to try to compete and reach the best stage. We are a developmental side, but we hope that inasmuch as we are trying to develop these players they will also do well.
“We are developing but we would want to win matches as well. I believe the chance is there for us to excel at the tournament.”
Ndlovu has woven in new talent with some experienced heads at this level and he says this blend should stand them in good stead.
“I think we have a balance of experience in the national team so the young and fresh players will have guidance from the players who have been getting game time and have so far done well in the league.”
After the Lesotho fixture, Zimbabwe will have a clash with Angola at the same venue three days later.
They round out their pool play with a match versus Namibia at the Arthur Davies Stadium on December 11.
The carrot being dangled in front of the Zimbabwean players are the number of scouts from mostly South African clubs who will be at the tournament to look out for new talent from a country that has a long history of sending quality players to play in the South African league.