Senior Sports Reporter
WARRIORS coach Baltemar Brito got a reality check in his preparations for the 2026 World Cup when his team suffered a 1-3 HUMILIATION at the hands of a ZIFA Northern Region Division One Select side on Sunday.
The Zimbabwe team, comprising mostly locally-based players, were no match for John Toto-Ncube’s young guns, who scored through Ngezi Platinum Stars Under-19s’ player Tinashe Mashaireni and double scorer Tanaka Dhlakama from Herentals Under-20.
South Africa-based forward Knox Mutizwa scored the consolation.
The Warriors had to arrange a training camp and a light sparring match with the youthful select from the country’s second-tier division after ZIFA failed to secure an international friendly match during the nine-day FIFA international break that concludes today.
They had also wanted to play the Prince Edward first team on Saturday.
Brito, who initially called a 24-member squad, has been working with a band of 22 players.
Most of the foreign-based professionals, who make the core of the team, failed to turn up after the communications with their clubs was bungled.
Only six players who play outside Zimbabwe – veteran goalkeeper Washington Arubi, who conceded three in that game, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Knox Mutizwa, Devine Lunga, Never Tigere and Munashe Garananga – have been in camp since Friday.
The rest of the squad comprises players like Highlanders stalwart Peter Muduhwa, Godknows Murwira (CAPS United), Frank Makarati, Tanaka Shandirwa (Dynamos), Takunda Benhura (Ngezi Platinum Stars), Gerald Bero (Manica Diamonds) and PSL top goal scorer Obriel Chirinda of Bulawayo Chiefs.
And on Sunday, the Warriors technical team gave almost all the players in the camp a run.
One of the Warriors assistant coaches Bongani Mafu said the game was important in setting up foundations.
“We are starting, and starting is what we are looking for,” he told journalists after the game.
“We have to start from somewhere.
“The old adage that, if you have 11 good players that doesn’t necessarily make a good team.”