Warriors coach Norman Mapeza is expected to name the provisional 40-member squad to commence preparations for AFCON 2021 this week, as the countdown to the continental showpiece begins.

The crowd-favorite formerĀ  national team captain was reappointed coach of the Warriors for the finals in Cameroon and will take charge despite efforts by the Felton Kamambo-led ZIFA board to declare his appointment as null and void.

After it is named this week, Mapeza’s provisional squad will be trimmed to 28 players, and then submitted to CAF, at least ten days before the spectacle kicks off on January 9.

France-based midfielder Marshall Munetsi has been ruled out by injury, so has England-based Brendan Galloway while Tendayi Darikwa excused himself for ‘personal reasons.’

Khama Billiat retired from international football but sources say he will be named in the squad as there are efforts to persuade him to reconsider his decision and feature for Zimbabwe at least at AFCON.

The Warriors camp will begin on the 23rd of December, with players expected to start trooping- in then, but in-form England-based midfielder Marvelous Nakamba will likely fly directly to Cameroon after featuring for Aston Villa on Boxing Day, based on the deal struck between the club and the Warriors technical team.

Zimbabwe are in Group B, along side Senegal, Malawi and Guinea.

They (the Warriors) will kick start their campaign against the Terranga Lions on the 10th of January.