They were fifty when it all started, head coach Tafadzwa Mashiri has now reduced the Under-17 boys national team to just 19. On 15 July they will fly to Mauritius to represent the nation in the COSAFA Under-17 Championship.
The previous team played three group games without any win, the best they did was to lead Botswana in the final game, but only to be pegged back, and eventually defeated.
One goal is what they could only manage, conceding eight times.
Mashiri was then assistant to Moses Chunga, now at the helm, here are his thoughts from the training ground.
“We are wearing a brave face, despite the limited time we have had to prepare for the games, we will go the aspiring to better our performance in the previous edition.
“We just want to go there and do our best, hoping to make it to the knockout stage.
“We are working hard to get the players into the right physical condition. The good thing is that they are technically sound, so we will continue working on their fitness.
“There has been a lot of improvement already and there is more to come from the boys,” the coach said.
Malawi inflicted the heaviest defeat (0-5) on the Young Warriors in the previous edition, and Zimbabwe will be hoping for an improved performance when the teams meet in their second Group C game on 23 July. Our first group game against Swaziland is on the 20th and the final group match will be played on 25 July versus Angola.
Group A: Mauritius, Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles
Group B: Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, South Africa
Group C: Angola, Malawi, Swaziland, Zimbabwe
The winner of the Championship will represent COSAFA at the Africa Cup of Nations in Tanzania later in the year. The top four teams at the continental tournament will represent Africa at the World Cup in Peru.