Soccer Africa

Zimbabwe: Tapera to Unleash British Brigade

Often part of the undercard in senior international football matches, three of the UK-based Zimbabwean players are finally set to see significant action when the Warriors begin their hunt for the COSAFA Cup against Comoros at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa this afternoon.

The match kicks-off at 3pm.

Coach Jairos Tapera took mostly international greenhorns to South Africa in line with the ZIFA objective to use the COSAFA tournament as a development platform for future Warriors squads.

The Warriors are making a welcome return after a three-year absence that included a year of suspension from international football by FIFA in 2022.

Zimbabwe are the second most successful team in the history of the competition, with six titles under their belt and just one behind rivals and record holders Zambia.

Fringe players Shane Maroodza of Huddersfield, Sheffield United’s Joey Phuthi and goalkeeper Marley Tavaziva of Brentford are part of the squad in South Africa.

After seeing little or no action in previous camps, the trio is poised to play in today’s match.

Only Phuthi, who is affectionately known as Doku after the flying Manchester City’s Belgian star Jeremy Doku, has some minutes under his belt in national team colours, out of the lot.

But they could all be thrown into action by Tapera for the duel against the Comoros this afternoon.

The three were in a good mood and looked well in shape during yesterday’s training session.

Tapera expressed optimism his squad will make it past Comoros this afternoon.

“We are here to compete. I am very happy with the squad that I have at my disposal,” Tapera said.

“I am happy with what I have seen at training. We would obviously have wanted some more time to train together as a team to build combinations and some chemistry within the team but I am still satisfied with what I have seen.

“Yea, the guys coming in from England will have a chance to play. I don’t have any doubt in their abilities.

“I have seen two of them, Phuthi and Maroodza, in our previous camp when we were in South Africa again for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers early this month.

“I can say they are really good players and I think they will add a lot of value in our COSAFA campaign.

“They are really good players and even Marley Tavaziva, I am impressed with what I saw. I don’t have any doubt that they will help the team to win.” Tapera said they are treating Comoros with respect.

“There are no small teams in modern football. We have to be very careful as a team getting into the match against Comoros.

“They might be a small team, but they are obviously in South Africa to compete,” he said.

“We have to be very cautious going into this match. We need to fire from all cylinders to get our COSAFA Cup tournament going.

“The first match is always important, and we need to collect the maximum points.”

Goalkeeper Tavaziva said he was ready to represent the country with honour and rallied the Warriors.

“I am very excited, it’s always a pleasure to play for the Warriors. Today (yesterday) training and tomorrow (today) match. My target is to train well, perform well, stand tall and obviously play well,” said Tavaziva.