YOUNG Warriors coach Bekithemba Ndlovu has predicted a tough assignment against Zambia in today's semi-finals of the MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships at Nkana Stadium in Kitwe, Zambia. Zimbabwe beat Botswana and Lesotho in Group C to book their place in the last four with a game to spare.
They however, surrendered their 100 percent record when they lost their final group game 1-4 to Angola on Sunday.
Ndlovu made several changes to this team for the last group game and resting some key players for today's semi-final.
The other semi-final match is between defending champions South Africa and Angola who edged Mozambique for the best second-placed team in the group games.
Addressing the media at the post match press conference after their defeat to Angola on Sunday, Ndlovu noted that they had a tough task against the hosts but was confident they will advance to the final.
"I think playing in the semi-finals is tougher than playing in the group stages because it's a once off game. If you lose it you are out, in the group stages you can lose and then win the next game (and) you will still be in.
"But this one it's a difficult one and I think . . . the four teams or us and Zambia it will be a fighting game, no one will want to lose or to play easy. I think the game won't be easy and we will try very hard to play to win.
"I think they (Zambia) are a very good team. But we will plan around and because we have seen them playing I think it's another advantage maybe for us to plan. We will see what happens after the game on Tuesday but they are a very strong team," said Ndlovu.
Goalkeeper Tinotenda Ali, leading scorer Delic Murimba, Tatenda Tumba and Blessing Nyamuzihwa were some of the players who were given a break on Sunday and should be fresh for action today.
"I think I am disappointed with the result but we rested a lot of players and some of them were injured. I think it was good for me and for us as a technical team to see the other boys in action so that maybe going forward to the semi-finals we can come out with a good strong team again, which can compete with Zambia.
Meanwhile the organisers of the tournament announced that the third and fourth play-off and the final that had been scheduled for Friday will be brought forward to Thursday.
This is due to a fixture clash with the Nkana venue now being used for a CAF Champions League fixture on Friday.