FOLLOWING mixed reactions on the 18-member Warriors squad named by caretaker coach Joey Antipas on Wednesday, the senior national team gaffer said the idea was not about snubbing certain players but creating an enlarged player base for the substantive coach that will take over him.
Ahead of the Warriors’ World Cup preliminary round qualifier against Somalia on 5 September, captain Knowledge Musona, winger Talent Chawapiwa, goalkeepers Edmore Sibanda and George Chigova, who were in the 2019 Afcon squad, were dropped.
“Concerning players that are not in the team, I cannot comment. I think we came out with a well-balanced squad. It’s an energetic team and the main idea is all about trying to create an enlarged player base for the substantive coach who will take over from me.
“We will continue to call more players especially the British Brigade. They play in competitive and more organised leagues but it’s unfortunate that their playing for the Zimbabwe national team has not been regularised,” said Antipas.
Players that include Macaulay Bonne were born in the United Kingdom to Zimbabwean parents and hold British passports and, right now, cannot represent the Warriors in international matches like the African Cup of Nations or the World Cup.
Zifa is in the process of making frantic efforts in trying to lure players with Zimbabwean roots such as Bonne, Andy Rinomhota, Reiss Nelson, Adam Chicksen, and Kundai Benyu among others.
Nottingham Forest star Tendayi Darikwa was since last year a key member of the Warriors squad despite having been born in the UK.
Both Wales-based Alec Mudimu and Leicester City’s Admiral Muskwe were born in Zimbabwe and grew up in the UK. They were part of the squad when the Warriors secured their 2019 Afcon ticket in March.
After the disgraceful Afcon campaign under Sunday Chidzambwa, Mudimu and Muskwe find themselves in Antipas’ arsenal that will make the trip to Djibouti.
There were also places for France-based Tinotenda Kadewere, Highlanders’ right back MaClive Phiri, Caps United’s Phenias Bhamusi and Clive Augusto who will naturally go out to prove their worth.
The encounter is a preliminary round fixture and the first leg will be played at a neutral venue in Djibouti.
This is due to security concerns in Somalia.
The return leg will be played at Barbourfields Stadium three days later.
Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka) Talbert Shumba (Chapungu).
Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor) MacClive Phiri (Highlanders) Peter Muduhwa (Highlanders) Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids AFC) Divine Lunga (Lamontville Golden Arrows).
Marshall Munetsi (Stade de Reims) Thabani Kamusoko (Zesco United) Kudakwashe Mahachi (SuperSport United) Tichaona Chipunza (Chicken Inn) Phenias Bamusi (Caps United) Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs).
Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre AC) Clive Augusto (Maritzburg United) Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits) Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City) Evans Rusike (Supersport United).