Fungayi Munyoro Sports Correspondent
WARRIORS coach Sunday Chidzambwa’s decision to recall former captain Willard Katsande back into the national team has drew mixed reactions from soccer fans in Mutare.
Some feel Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Katsande’s presence would give the team steel reinforcement in the middle of the park while regard him as excess baggage.
Katsande was included among the 21 member squad to face Liberia on November 18, in Monrovia, marking his return after close to two years of quitting international football. Soccer enthusiast Eddy Jewu had this to say about Chidzambwa’s decision:
“We need someone who is good when it comes to marking and passing the ball. Katsande has the qualities. Mhofu made an informed decision to have him back in the Warriors fold”.
Another soccer fan Martin Moyo said Katsande’s inclusion will give the team a major boost.
“Perhaps to some extent he will give the team a moral boost and increase the confidence of the new guys in the team. It creates completion in the camp. Definitely there will be stiff competition as the upcoming stars will fight it out for the jersey with experienced players like Katsande,” he said.
Tom Nyathi said it was an overdue and brave decision by the Zifa Board and the technical team to smoke a peace pipe with Katsande.
“Having played 246 consecutive games for a big team like Kaizer Chiefs, what more experience would one ask for? I also applaud Katsande for listening to the voice of reason and put the Warriors first,” he said.
However, not everyone was impressed.
“I don’t think it is something to celebrate about. This is a player who resigned out of frustration because fans were not happy with the results posted by the team he captained.
His revered international exposure failed to rescue the team, forcing him to quit. What are we doing by recycling geriatrics like Katsande? He is the type of player who thinks he should not be criticised when he messes,” said Talent Mwayera.
“Those good players who took us this far should be given more game time. We should not create hills out of anthills by embracing yesteryear players like Katsande at the expense of emerging talent.
The team has been posting positive results without him. He is struggling at Kaizer Chiefs, and what warrants the merit of his inclusion in the national team? The national jersey is for every player with capacity to turn around the fortunes of the team, and should not be used to massage the egos of former captains,” he added.
This was also echoed by Simba Marezu who accused Katsande of sabotaging the team by prematurely announcing his retirement.
“He left the Warriors two years ago and has discovered that the team is making progress, and wants to comeback and share the glory. He is expendable, and we do not want greedy players,” said Marezu.
The Warriors will face Liberia in Group G qualifying match before hosting Congo on March 22, 2019.
The 32nd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations will be played in Cameroon from June 15 to July 13, 2019. It will also be the first Africa Cup of Nations featuring 24 teams. Zimbabwe provisional squad
Goalkeepers: George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank Spurs), Simbarashe Chinani (Dynamos).
Defenders: Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Kevin Moyo (FC Platinum), Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars), Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates).
Midfielders: Willard Katsande (Kaizer Chiefs), TafadzwaKutinyu (Azam), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Talent Chawapihwa (Baroka), MarvelousNakamba (Club Brugge), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Knowledge Musona (Anderlecht), Rodwell Chinyengetere (FC Platinum)
Strikers: Evans Rusike (SuperSport United), Knox Mutizwa (Lamontville Golden Arrows), Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre AC), Terrence Dzvukamanja (Bidvest Wits).