TNM Super League champions Be Forward Wanderers this afternoon get their first test of their readiness to compete with the best in the rough terrain of African club football when they face Mozambique’s flagship Mocambola League champions UD Songo.
This will be the first step of the Nomads’ preparations for their CAF Champions League preliminary round first leg tie against AS Vita of DR Congo between February 9 and 11.
A 31-member delegation which includes 20 players left the country yesterday morning for Mozambique by road. It is being led by executive committee member Onani Chaponda
The squad includes six of the seven new players with striker Mischeck Botomani the only absentee as he is reportedly ill.
The new players are goalkeeper William Thole, defenders Peter Cholopi and Dennis Chembezi, midfielders Blessings Tembo and Dan Kumwenda and striker Niikiza Aimable.
Other players who have not made the trip are Esau Kanyenda, Isaac ‘Tcheya’ Kaliati, Jaffalie Chande and Jabulani Linje.
Said team manager Stevie Madeira: “We have a pool of more than 30 players and we have only picked 20, but as for Chande and Kanyenda, they are yet to start training while ‘Tcheya’ is recovering from malaria.”
Team captain Joseph Kamwendo said the game is crucial as they step up preparations for the AS Vita showdown.
“We are playing Mozambique champions and even though we have just kick-started our preparations, it will help us gel with our new colleagues.
“We have not reached the required fitness levels, but still more we will pick up. We need more of such games so that by the time we face Vita, we should be in shape. We thank our executive committee for the effort,” he said.
Coach Yasin ‘Titch’ Osman said the international friendly is more about gelling new and old players.
“We do not have much time as we only have three weeks, so it is crucial that we assess the new players in game situations, especially at international level and see how they can gel with the rest. As I said, we need to assess if the new players can fit our philosophy
“It also provides us an opportunity to try different combinations and tactics as well as identify and improve on our weaknesses,” he said.
The following is the list of players and technical staff that has made the trip: Goalkeepers: Richard Chipuwa and Thole; Defenders: Francis Mulimbika, Lucky Malata, Harry Nyirenda, Ted Sumani, Bongani Kaipa, Precious Sambani, Chembezi and Cholopi; Midfielders: Kamwendo, Alfred Manyozo Jnr, Tembo, Rafiq Namwera, Mike Kaziputa, Yamikani Chester and Kumwenda; Forwards: Peter Wadabwa, Precious Msosa and Aimable; Technical staff: Jack Chamangwana (technical director), Madeira , Osman, Bob Mpinganjira (assistant coach), Vales Kamzere (goalkeeper trainer) and Sam Matukuta (team doctor).