A MEMBER of the pioneer Warriors to grace the Nations Cup finals, George Mbwando, is interested in helping national team coach Callisto Pasuwa prepare adequately for the 2017 AFCON showcase by providing him with useful technical details of some of the players his men will face in Gabon.Mbwando, who is based in Germany, is a holder of a Euro Pro A Licence coaching badge and feels he could play a part in arming Pasuwa with useful data about the players his troops will battle in Gabon if he is given the green light to go on that mission in the remaining months before the grand football festival.
He says he has already spoken to ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa, who referred him to Pasuwa since this was a technical issue which the coach should approve.
Mbwando says he has been trying without success to engage Pasuwa and feels time is no longer on the side of the Warriors, who will face three of the top four-ranked football countries in Africa in Gabon.
“My suggestion really is that I could go on a number of spying missions, should the coach provide that approval, around Europe where I could concentrate on the players we are likely to meet in Gabon, looking at very fine details related to their strengths, weaknesses, if there are any, and how we can battle against them,” said Mbwando.
“When you look at the teams that we were drawn against in our group, most of their leading players are based here in Europe and it’s not easy for our coach, or his assistants, to come over here now and again to really evaluate these players, check on what are their biggest strengths, what should we do to minimise their influence on the game, what are their weaknesses, and what should we do to exploit them.
“I have the privilege of being very close to their bases here, some of them actually play here in Germany, while I could also visit others who are not here, whom we believe could be part of the teams that we are going to meet and compile data which I can then send to the coach, which he can use with his assistants to ensure that we are fully equipped to battle our opponents.
“In saying that, I have to make it clear that I’m not trying to be roped into the coaching staff of the Warriors but I just want to play a helping hand, for the sake of my country and team so that when we face these giants of African football, we would have done our best possible analysis of the opponents so that we can try as much as can be possible to deal with what they can throw at us.
“Football has become very scientific around the world and there is huge investment into all this everywhere you go because you need to know the pedigree of your opponents and then try and find the best ways to deal with that and I think, here in Germany, I’m centrally based to play my little part in helping our coach and the team.
“People can say that such a thing can be done easily from looking at either matches, via television, or recordings about these players but I can tell you that the ideal way is to go into the stadiums where these players will be playing, try and talk to the opposing managers and share notes with the opposing analysts and you can see that there is a mountain of data that you can come up with.”
Mbwando said should his plan be approved by the Warriors’ coaching staff, he would then need to raise funds to travel across Europe to watch those targeted players and then transmit the relevant data back to Pasuwa and his team for analysis.
“Obviously, Pasuwa, as the head coach is the man who makes all the decisions and I have been trying to get in touch with him but with very little success so that I try and sell him this idea that I have,” said Mbwando.
“I have already spoken to the ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa and he referred me to Pasuwa, saying this was a technical issue and any approval should come from the coach himself.
“Obviously, there are costs related to such an exercise and a sponsor will have to be found somewhere, if the coach gives his approval, because it means I will be going from one country to another, targeting those players that we are likely to meet in Gabon and spying on them when they are in the heat of battles.
“It’s something that just came up in my mind the other day when I was asking myself what role can I play to try and help my country and my team so that we don’t just go to Gabon to make up the numbers but we can fight against these giants and, who knows in football, we can even succeed in our group.
“It’s about all of us coming together to see the little parts that we can try and play because the Warriors are representing all of us and we want them to do better than what we did in Tunisia in 2004 and what the team also did in Egypt in 2006.”
There has been growing interest in the Warriors in Europe with Burnley defender Tendai Darikwa engaging the national team’s coaching staff looking at the possibility of playing for Zimbabwe in Gabon. Warriors manager Sharif Mussa revealed during ZTV’s weekly Game Plan football magazine show that Darikwa has been in touch with him, exploring the possibility of playing for the Warriors in Gabon.
Mussa said he has since passed the information to Pasuwa who will make a final decision.
Khadim N’Diaye (turns 23 on November 30), Horoya Guinea
Abdoulaye Diallo (24) Caykur Rizespor, Turkey
Pape Seydou Ndiaye (23) Niary Tally, Senegal
Kara Mbodji (27) Anderlecht, Belgium
Lamine Gassama (27) Alanyaspor, Turkey
Kalidou Koulibaly (25) Napoli, Italy
Zargo Toure (27) Lorient, France
Saliou Ciss (27) Valenciennes, France
Fallou Diagne (27) Weder Bremen, Germany
Diawandou Diagne (22) Eupen, Belgium
Ibrahima Mbaye (22) Bologna, Italy
Idrissa Gana Gueye (26), Everton
Mohamed Diame, vice-captain, (29), Newcastle United
Cheikhou Kouyate, captain, (27), West Ham United
Pape Kouly Diop (30), Espanyol, Spain
Cheikh N’Doye, (30), Angers, France
Younousse Sankhare, (27), Lille, France
Papa Alioune Ndiaye, (25), Osmanlispor, Turkey
Moussa Sow, (30), Fenerbahce, Turkey
Saido Mane, (24), Liverpool, England
Moussa Konate, (23), Sion, Switzerland
Keita Balde, (21), Lazio, Italy
Famara Diedhiou (24), Angers, France
The following players have been called up in the last 12 months
Pape N’Diaye Souare, (26), Crystal Palace, England
Adama Mbengue, (23), Diambars, Senegal
Mame Biram Diouf (29), Stoke City, England
Oumar Niasse, (26), Everton, England
Rais M’Bohli, (30), Antalyspor, Turkey
Chamseddine Rahmani (26), MO Bejaia, Algeria
Malik Asselah, (30), JS Kabylie, Algeria
Mohamed Zemmamouche, (31), USM Alger, Algeria
Medhi Jeannin, (24), Clermont, France
Sofiane Khedairia, (27), ES Setif, Algeria
Carl Medjani, captain, (31), Leganes, Spain
Faouzi Ghoulam, (25), Napoli, Italy
Liassine Cadamuro-Bentaiba, (28), Servette, Switzerland
Medhi Zeffane, (24), Rennes, France Hicham Belkaroui, (26), ES Tunis, Tunisia
Nacereddine Khoualed, (30), USM Alger, Algeria
Medhi Tahrat, (26), Angers, France
Mohamed Khoutir Ziti, (27), ES Setif, Algeria
Houari Ferhan, (23), JS Kabylie, Algeria
Nacereddine Khoualed, (30), USM Alger, Algeria
Brahim Boudebouda, (26), MC Alger, Algeria
Sofiane Bendebka, (24), NA Hussein, Algeria
Sofiane Feghouli, (27), West Ham, England
Saphir Taider, (24), Bologna, Italy
Adlene Guedioura, (31), Watford, England
Yacine Brahimi, vice-captain, (26), Porto, Portugal
Riyad Mahrez, (25), Leicester City, England
Ryad Boudebouz, (26), Montpellier, France
Rachid Ghezzal, (24), Lyon, France
Islam Slimani, (28), Leicester City, England
Al Arabi Hillel Soudani, (29), Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia
Sofiane Hanni, (26), Anderlecht, Belgium
Baghdad Bonnedjah, (24), Al-Saad, Qatar
Said Benrahma, (21), Nice, France
Ishak Belfodil, (24), Standard Liege, Belgium
Tunisia (Selected European-Based Players)
Aymen Abdennour, Valencia, Spain
Mohamed Ali Yacoubi, Caykur Rizespor, Turkey
Bilel Mohsni, Paris FC, France
Wahbi Khazri, Sunderland, England
Anis Ben-Hatira, SV Damstadt 98, Belgium
Fabien Camus, Royal Antwerp, Belgium
Larry Azouni, Nimes, France
Issam Ben Khemis, Lorient, France
Hamdi Harbaoui, Anderlecht, Belgium
Nejmeddin Daghfous, Wurzburger Kickers, Germany
Syam Ben Youssef, Caen, France
Issam Jebali, IF Elfsborg, Sweden
Mohamed Larbi, Gazalec Ajaccio, France
Jamel Saihi, Angers, France
Anice Badri, Muscron-Peruwelz, Belgium