The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Former Dembare Goalie to Lead Zim Team in UK

FORMER Dynamos goalkeeper Obey Murefu will lead a team of Zimbabwean soccer players who are based in England at an Afcon-UK tournament to be held in London later this year. The tournament will be staged at West Ham Memorial Park in London between June 1 and 23 and apart from "Zimbabwe", the tournament has attracted teams from players or nationals from fellow African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Guinea who are living in the UK.

The tournament's final will be played at Upton Park, the home of English Premiership side West Ham.

And UK-based Zimbabwean soccer coach, Charles "Maskiri" White, yesterday confirmed that he will assemble a Zimbabwe team for this tournament and it will be led by former Dynamos goalkeeper Murefu who is now based in England.

"I have been tasked to assemble and manage a Zimbabwe soccer squad to represent us (Zimbabweans living in the UK) at the Afcon-UK tournament to be held at West Ham Memorial Park from June 1 to 23.

"The final will be played at Upton Park (West Ham's stadium) . . . The games will be played over the weekends in four groups with the winners of the groups going through to the quarter-finals," White said from his base in Leeds yesterday.

He said his squad at the moment has UK-based Zimbabwean players such as Murefu, Martin Chirimuti, Alvin Chirimuuta, Omar and Zaideen Brown (ex Watford and Fulham Youth), Ross Flynn (ex-Brighton, Charlton and Crystal Palace), Mikaeel White and Lionel Orange (Barnet), Godwill Moraka (Prestatyn Town - Wales), Brandon Dube, Grey Marikana (Woking Youth) and Farai Halaam (Stevenage).

I doubt if Tinashe Abrahams (contracted to Barnet), Brendon Galloway (England Under-17s and contracted to MK Dons) and Bradley Pritchard (Charlton) will be allowed to play for us by their respective clubs but there is still room for new players who are willing to play in this tournament," White said.

He said the tournament is open to players between 17 and 30 years of age and is being sponsored by "AIDS AWARENESS AFRICA", a UK-based non-profit making organisation.

"The contesting teams have former national team players, academy and ex-academy, national team trialists and others who are out of contracts with English clubs here in the UK," White said.

The former Arcadia United striker recently indicated that he was also looking at assembling another team made up of UK-based Zimbabwean players that will tour this country between June and July this year.

White said they would like this team to play local soccer giants Dynamos and Highlanders during their short tour of Zimbabwe although "nothing has been confirmed as yet".

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