Ray Bande Senior Reporter
FORMER Warriors’ captain Willard Katsande will have to wait a little longer before he can be part of the national team set up after the technical department felt it was a bit too late to include the Mutare born midfield hardman in the squad to face Congo Brazzaville on Sunday, team manager Wellington Mpandare has said.The Zimbabwe senior men’s national team is expected to leave today (Friday) to Congo Brazzaville for the crucial Total Caf Africa Cup of Nations Group G qualifier scheduled for Sunday.
The Warriors team manager told Post Sport that he talked to Katsande who expressed his willingness to help the national team achieve its targets but the coaches had already done selection and can only consider him in future assignments if he continues to perform well at his Naturena base.
“Well, he phoned me recently and he told me that he was prepared to come back to the national team. We are all aware that our former captain retired after the Afcon tournament. When he phoned me it was late for the technical department to consider him because we had already assembled a team but obviously if he keeps playing well he will be considered in future,” said Mpandare.
Known simply as Widzo to most of his peers and fans back home in the dusty streets of Sakubva in Mutare, Katsande recently declared that he is ready to come out of retirement from international football to help the Warriors in the forthcoming assignments if called by the technical team.
Katsande made the remarks after coach Sunday Chidzambwa had already announced an enlarged provisional squad ahead of the Afcon qualifier against Congo Brazavile on Sunday.
A number of unfamiliar foreign based players were named in that squad.
As largely expected by fans across the country, Katsande was not part of that list after the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder played his final game as Zimbabwe crashed out of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations following a 4-2 defeat to Tunisia in Gabon.
The former Highway FC and Gunners player announced his retirement from international football after Gabon 2017.
Katsande, who made his debut for Zimbabwe back in March 2009 friendly against Bahrain after impressing national team selectors whilst on the books of the now defunct Highway FC, feels he can still add value to the national team but can only do so if invited to take part.
He has gone on to make more than 30 appearances for his country.
Meanwhile, Warriors preparations ahead of the match against Brazzaville received a major boost after the arrival of some key foreign based players that include bustling Nyasha Mushekwi.
However, the ballooning list of injured players is likely to give the Warriors technical department headaches as they plot the downfall of their opponents.
“As for the turnout of the players we are very impressed but we are worried Marvelous Nakamba, Ovidy Karuru, Costa Nhamoinesu, Tino Kadewere as well as Tino Chibharo. Nevertheless, those other players that are there would want to prove that they can do better.
“Khama reported for camp but we will have to assess him to see if he is fit for the match though he was complaining about feeling some pain,” he said.
Mpandare expressed confidence that the national team will be able to achieve the desired result of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
“The good thing is that two teams will qualify from this group. If we do not win our away matches and collect maximum points at home we can still qualify but we need not make life difficult for ourselves. We just have to collect points so that we do not put ourselves under pressure,” said Mpandare.